The sound of gunfire usually causes alarm, but at Fort Sill, Thursday, it caused quite a bit of excitement for Fort Sill for the inaugural firing of the army's next generation artillery weapon.
A newer version of the Paladin Integrated Management system has been an army project for the last several years and the upgraded self propelled howitzer fired its first shot outside of testing.
There is a new piece of artillery ready for soldiers at Fort Sill, which veterans are getting to see up close.
The Paladin Integrated Management, known as the PIM, has gotten a major upgrade and Major Marvin Millar says it's now more reliable.
“With the old M109a6 we were having several reliability issues with some components. We fixed a lot of those issues on this system and also through testing we've seen that it's more reliable than we were intending it to be. A lot of components are the same in both the maneuver forces as well as our forces and so it allows us to have those little logistics to keep our systems up and fighting,” said Millar.
Staff Sergeant Gerardo Figueroa has been working on the new system for two years, he's been deployed on the older paladin and says the upgrade is beneficial.
“All the electrical systems now are a whole lot better. They are a lot faster compared to the Alpha 6 so that's one of the biggest things you want to do when you go down range you want to shoot the enemy and not take your time,” he said.
The booming going at fort sill is also a boom
For the city of Elgin, where BAE systems will soon be part of the final assembly of the new artillery.
And BAE officials say the convenient location is an added benefit.
“To roll the fun out of our facility through the Elgin gate through the fire is real good we are very excited about it and it allows us to get the testing done much more quickly,” Anthony Williams, BAE marketing manager.
BAE systems expect to have the first new PIM come out of their assembly line next June and the first army unit should receive the artillery in late 2017.