US Army is close to the end of programme carried out for artillery. Under the programme named Extended Range Cannon Artillery Program (ERCA), 70 kilometres range is aimed. Studies also carried out on M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzers which are already US Army inventory. Howitzer’s range will be doubled.
The US Army gives its priority to long-range high-precision shots under the modernization programmes. A new rocket assisted ammunition (Rocket Assisted Projectile / RAP) was developed in this direction. During tests an ammunition reached to 62 kilometres at the Yuma Proving Ground. The ammunition equipped with a rocket engine with higher propulsion than its predecessors, is being carried out to reach the maximum range of 70 kilometres.
Within the scope of extension work, R & D activities are not carried out on ammunition only. Paladins was announced also to be modernized. In this context, M109 howitzers with 39 caliber 155 mm guns will be equipped with better firing control systems and a 58 caliber barrel and will be called M109A8. M109 howitzers can shoot at a range of 30 kilometres.