The M109A6 Paladin is not, strictly speaking, a tank. Instead, it’s a self-propelled howitzer, a weapon attached to a Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle. Running on foot, sporting aluminum armor and manned by six, it bears a striking resemblance to classic tanks like the M1 Abrams, but it’s a different beast.
The first M109 arrived in 1963, and was intended to correct the M108’s problem with the lighter weight of its main weapon. The developers of this 155mm weapon, known at the time as the United Defense LP, gave it a range of nine miles in its first iteration, but the M109 family could expand as much as possible.
By the time of the Paladin (which was produced until 1999), the M109A4 had added more advanced equipment such as Mission Oriented Protective Posture Equipment, the M109A5 had been upgraded to a 440hp engine, and the formidable gun could hit more than before. The M109 could only dream of doing it.