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U.S. Army begins test of newest component for future artillery system

The U.S. Army began the first test of the newest component of future artillery system at the Yuma Proving Ground.

Dante Mucaro, Test Lead for ERCA with the Combat Capabilities Development Center-Armament Center (CCDC-AC) has confirmed that the Army begins a test of a new autoloader for newest artillery systems that develop under the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) project.

“ERCA itself is a massive undertaking in that everything is under development at the same time and it’s a platform that needs to be compatible with multiple howitzer configurations, multiple projectiles and multiple missions,” explains Dante Mucaro.

The ERCA program has been testing various components of its system for about four years. The newest component undergoing testing is a five-round limited capacity autoloader. It holds five projectiles and five propellant charges.

In the past ERCA Howitzer Test Bed (HTB) systems have been built on modified M109A6 Self Propelled Howitzers. Testing of the limited capacity autoloader is being conducted from a prototype M109A7 which has been modified and integrated with the ERCA Armament System.

Mechanical Engineer Joe Troll, Integration and Demo Hardware Lead for ERCA with CCDC-AC, says the first step is, “We tear everything down and prepare it for ERCA modifications.” Those modifications are primarily cab modifications to accept a larger, extended range armament system.

Troll sent the HTB cab to Anniston Army Depot, whose personnel widen the armament opening, raise the roof to make room for the upgraded elevation system and, “Unique to this vehicle, the bustle was extended to fit the limited capacity autoloader.”

The integration undertaking is massive. At any time during the one and a half year it has taken to get to this vehicle ready for testing, more than 100 people have worked on this test item, “There has been a lot of good people doing a lot of good work on …read more

Read more here:: Defence Blog (Land)

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