WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla) and U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK-4) today praised the BAE Systems announcement that low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) 155mm self-propelled howitzer system will be completed in the company’s Elgin, Okla. facility located in the Fort Sill Industrial Park.
Inhofe said, “After years of working on this issue, today’s BAE announcement is exciting news for Elgin, Ft Sill, Oklahoma and the Army. BAE’s plan to expand the Elgin facility will mean more jobs for the area as the Paladin Integrated Management Program (PIM) provides improved technology for our Army artillery personnel. This announcement means that jobs will be moved to Elgin two to three years sooner than they otherwise would have under BAE’s old plan.”
Cole said, "I applaud BAE Systems' ongoing and now growing commitment to locate the final assembly of the Army's Paladin Integrated Management Program (PIM) weapon system at their Elgin facility. Oklahoma can be proud that in addition to being home to the Army's Fires Center of Excellence at Ft Sill, the region will continue to play an essential role in equipping our troops with essential fire support for the future."
The Paladin self-propelled howitzer, the 6th version of the artillery weapon system, was originally produced in the 1960s. Paladin is the Army’s Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) primary artillery system. It is also the Army’s only self-propelled howitzer system. The new PIM howitzer significantly upgrades the Paladin’s reliability, maintainability, performance, responsiveness, and lethality. PIM also takes advantage of commonality, and therefore ownership cost savings, with Bradley fighting vehicles.
Due to the cancelation of the Non-Line of Sight Cannon program, the Army prioritized the development and fielding of the PIM program. According to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, the Paladin is becoming unsupportable with increased track, suspension, and generator failures. Delays in the PIM program negatively impact the operational effectiveness and reliability of the Army's only self-propelled howitzer, as well as its broader indirect fire systems development program.
In the FYI 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, the Army was directed to prioritize the development and fielding of the PIM program due to the cancelation of the Non-Line of Sight Cannon program. The PIM program is now proceeding on schedule. The LRIP award is expected in July 2013 with the first delivery to the Army in December 2014.
Phase 1 of expanding the BAE Elgin facility will begin in mid to late 2013. The Army plans to acquire 581 PIMs.