Past production and conversion work by RDM Technology has included the manufacture of parts for Royal Netherlands Army 155 mm M109A2 self-propelled howitzers; major assemblies for the Leopard 2 MBT for both Dutch and German armies; fitting FMC command and reconnaissance carriers of the Royal Netherlands Army with Oerlikon Contraves 25 mm GBD-A0A turrets; modifying Royal Netherlands Army FMC AlFVs to carry the Systems & Electronics Inc (previously Electronics & Space Corporation) Improved TOW mount; and production of a large series of AlFVs (together with DAF, Eindhoven) for the Royal Netherlands Army.
In 1988, RDM Technology delivered the first upgraded M114/39 calibre towed howitzers, details of which are given in a separate entry.
For the M109A2 the company manufactured the gun and mount assembly, installing the turret and completing system integration before delivering the complete vehicle.
Canadian M109 upgrade
Late in 1992, RDM Technology received a contract to overhaul 30 M109 series self-propelled howitzers of the Canadian Forces, as well as carrying out a small number of modifications including the installation of an auxiliary power unit. This project was completed in 1995.
- Royal Netherlands Army M109 upgrade
As of early 1991, the Royal Netherlands Army artillery order of battle included 76 M110A2 203 mm self-propelled howitzers, 222 M109 155 mm series self-propelled howitzers, 123 M114 155 mm towed howitzers (of which 82 had been upgraded with the 39 calibre ordnance) and 22 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs). However, under reorganisation plans the artillery strength has been cut to 137 M109 155 mm self-propelled howitzers, 51 155 mm M114/39 calibre towed howitzers and 22 MLRS.
It was intended to refurbish all 137 M109 155 mm self-propelled howitzers but late in 1993 it was stated that only 126 would be upgraded which would be issued to six M109 regiments, each with 24 weapons and six driver training vehicles.
The upgrade was carried out by RDM Technology under a contract worth US$62.6 million. Of the 126 vehicles upgraded, 88 were M109A2and the remaining 38M109A3.
The upgrade was combined with a programme of basic maintenance and included a better dynamo and voltage regulator, an improved starter motor, improved turret rotation installation and anti-corrosion measures. Modifications were also carried out to the hull to prevent cracking and the ammunition stowage racks were replaced. This project was completed in 1997.
- M109 with 39 calibre ordnance
RDM Technology has proposed a major upgrading of the M109 including the installation of a new 155 mm 39 calibre ordnance, a new gun mount, a semi-automatic loading and ramming mechanism, improved protection (mainly to the turret) and the installation of an automatic fire-control system. Other options could include an ammunition supply trailer, installation of an air conditioning and NBC protection system, an automatic fire detection and suppression system and a remotely actuated ordnance travel lock.
When fitted with the 155 mm 39 calibre ordnance, the upgraded M109 would fire a standard M107 high-explosive projectile to a maximum range of 18.1 km, an extended range full-bore high-explosive projectile to a maximum range of 25.50 km and an extended range full-bore base bleed projectile to a maximum range of 32.4 km.
In August 1995, Abu Dhabi, one of the states of the United Arab Emirates, purchased 85 155 mm M109A3 series self-propelled howitzers from the Royal Netherlands Army.
Under a contract worth G53 million, RDM Technology has carried out major upgrades of these M109A3s and then delivered them to Abu Dhabi.
The M109A3s were not only overhauled but will also be updated in a number of key areas including the installation of a new 155 mm 47 calibre ordnance from Switzerland (as fitted to the upgraded M109s of the Swiss Army) and an NBC system.
The installation of a new 155 mm 47 calibre ordnance will enable the M109A3 to fire an M107 high-explosive projectile to a maximum range of 23,000 m or an assisted projectile to a maximum range of approximately 35,000 m.
Actual upgrade work on the M109A3s commenced in 1996 and will continue for a period of three years.
The Royal Netherlands Army had a fleet of 222 M109s but as a result of restructuring, this was cut to just 137 systems with the remainder being put up for sale. With the sale to Abu Dhabi, the Royal Netherlands Army has reached its objective in M109 holdings.
- M109 with 52 calibre ordnance
Details of this upgrade, announced in 1999 are given in the following entry.
A total of 85 M109s has been upgraded for Abu Dhabi.