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NewsNumber of M109 howitzers in Ukraine substantially increased, after the latest arrivals

Number of M109 howitzers in Ukraine substantially increased, after the latest arrivals

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Ukraine now operates around 80 units of M109s self-propelled howitzers of various configurations.

Italian battery of M109L self-propelled howitzers in entrenched firing positions. Image credit: SGT. Brian Gavin, U.S. Army

The number of M109s in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces jumped up after Italy donated 30 vehicles from its own stocks.

A batch of Italian M109L howitzers was spotted several days ago, en route to Ukraine. Apparently, they were part of a larger delivery – different media sources already mentioned that the first units have been operating in Ukraine “for several weeks”.

This military assistance from the Italian Army took some time to arrive to its destination. The decision to donate M109Ls was made back in 2022. But before they could be sent, these machines had to be refurbished, and the funds for this purpose were provided by the United States.

The situation for this move was very favorable, because Italy had recently phased out their M109L artillery units in favor of the German Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000). In 2010, Italy operated 221 units of these self-propelled howitzers. There is a real chance that more of them could be provided to Ukraine in the future, following the successful delivery of the first batch.

Despite being an older platform, M109 remains a very capable vehicle. The Italian version corresponds to the M109A3 modification, but uses a domestically made 155mm 39 caliber gun from Otobreda (Oto Melara) instead of the standard M185 cannon. This machine can reach 60 km/h (37 mph) speed on the road, and 25 km/h (15.5 mph) off-road. Its total weight is 28 tons. Its operational range is up to 320 km (around 200 miles).

In terms of combat performance, M109L has a firing range 24 to 30 kilometers (15-19 miles), depending on the type of artillery round. It can shoot up to 4 rounds per minute in a maximum mode, for a period of 3 minutes, or 1 rpm in sustained mode.

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