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Meet the M1299, the new Army howitzer with twice the range of the Paladin
The future of Army long-range precision officially has a name.
The Army confirmed on Monday that it plan on designating the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program's brand new 155mm self-propelled howitzer as the M1299, Army Recognition reports.
Developed in response to increasing concerns of near-peer adversaries like Russia and China, the ERCA gun nailed targets with pinpoint accuracy at a range of 62 kilometers during testing at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona in March, far outstripping the range of both the M109A7 Paladin (30km) and M777 (40km with the M982 Excalibur guided artillery shell) howitzers.
Compared to those systems, the M1299 will receive two "leading-edge technologies," as Army Recognition reports: the experimental new XM1113 rocket-assisted artillery shell, and a longer 58 caliber tube designed to boost the conventional howitzer range from 38km to 70km and, eventually, an eye-popping 100 km "within the forthcoming four years."
Extended Range Cannon Artillery, or ERCA, will be an improvement to the latest version of the Paladin self-propelled howitzer that provides indirect fires for the brigade combat team and division-level fight (U.S. Army photo)
"We know we need the range in order to maintain overmatch," Col. John Rafferty, head of the long-range precision fire cross-functional team, told Defense News. "We need 70 to 80 kilometers because that's the start, and then we will be able to get farther. Right now we are on a path to 70 kilometers with ERCA."
Extended range is only one element of the Army's never-ending pursuit of lethality. The M1299 will incorporate a fully automated ammo loading system to boost the howitzer's rate of fire from 3 rpm to 10rpm, although Defense News reported in March that the Army doesn't plan on fully incorporating the system "beyond the first iteration" until 2024.
Soldier may not need to wait that long to get their hands on the ERCA program's new tech, though: the official M1299 designation comes just weeks after the Army awarded a $45 million contract to BAE Systems to integrate various elements of the ERCA system into the service's existing and future Paladin howitzers.
Anyway, congrats to the M1299 on its induction into the world of alpha-numeric military designations. We hope your upcoming baptism is a baptism by fire.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that no U.S. troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria and the United States "is continuing our deliberate withdrawal from northeastern Syria."
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier on Friday said Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.
On Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Army families had the opportunity to tell senior leaders exactly what was going on in their worlds — an opportunity that is, unfortunately, all too rare.
A new documentary series about Clint Lorance pits the infantry officer convicted of murder against his former soldiers
The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the five-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.
A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).
But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.
The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.
The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.
"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.