US Army plans auto-loader for future ERCA system

The US Army is developing an Extended-Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system and will start building prototypes by the end of the year while planning to add autoloader in 2024.

However, beyond this first design, the service is planning to add an autoloader starting in 2024, according to Col. John Rafferty, who is in charge of the Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires modernization programs.

The Army plans to build 8 prototypes of the ERCA cannon by 2023 with a culminating technology demonstration, Rafferty said. The service is focused on improvements to the platform, the projectile, the ammunition, and propellant.

While the Army plans to first take the legacy fleet of Howitzers and give them projectiles that allow them to shoot farther.

After years of planning, the Paladin Integrated Management program aims to upgrade the Paladin howitzer with an M109A7 chassis. From there, the ERCA program will upgrade PIM’s turret with a 58 caliber, 30-foot long gun tube that is capable of shooting farther than 70 kilometers.