M119 howitzer

The M119 howitzer is the US designation for the L119 light gun, a lightweight British 105mm howitzer also used by the United States Army. It can be easily airlifted by helicopter, or dropped by parachute. It does not need a recoil pit.

M119 howitzer
Class Vehicle
Type Towed Artillery
Manufacturer Rock Island Arsenal
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1989
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Ireland View
Saudi Arabia View
United States of America View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Rock Island Arsenal View

The howitzer was designed and produced by the British Royal Ordnance Factories as the L118 light gun. In the L118 configuration, the 105 mm ammunition is cased separate loading ammunition (not semi-fixed projectile and propelling charge as sometimes stated). The L118 entered service with the British Army in 1976 and is used by parachute and commando field artillery regiments. It saw combat during the Falklands War, where the 30 guns in action fired up to 400 rounds per gun per day, mostly at "charge super"—i.e., the most powerful propellant charge available. The L119 is the L118 reconfigured to fire Nato-standard US/Nato 105 mm semi-fixed ammunition.

In 1987 an agreement was reached to produce the L119 under license by the US as the M119, to replace the M102 howitzer. It entered service with 7th Infantry Division, Fort Ord, California, in December 1989. Some improvements were made to produce the M119A1, including increasing its extreme low temperate envelope from -30 °C to -45 °C, improving maintainability.The army has renewed contracts for the M119 to be produced by the Rock Island Arsenal-Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center (RIA-JMTC) at Rock Island, Illinois into the year 2013. The 105mm M20A1 cannon was produced by US Army Watervliet Arsenal.

The M119 is currently fielded with all regular army and national guard infantry brigade combat teams, including those in the 10th Mountain, 82nd Airborne, and 101st Airborne divisions, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. Other divisions may be of mixed composition between armor, stryker, and infantry brigade combat teams, with armor having M109A6s Paladins and stryker having M777s for their fires battalions. For example, two of four are IBCTs with M119s in the 25th Infantry Division. National guard light field artillery battalions assigned to IBCTs also have M119s for example the 86th IBCT (Mountain) headquartered in Vermont. It is routinely airdropped in airborne operations and sling-loaded under Chinook or UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in air assault operations.

In April 2009, the M119A2 howitzer was being fielded by the 4th Infantry Combat Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division to provide better support in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was the only brigade in the division equipped with it, as the other three brigades were "heavy" brigades and therefore equipped with the M109A6 Paladin.

Alpha Battery of the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division received their first upgraded M119A3 howitzers in July 2013, and became the first unit to operate it in theater when they were deployed to northeast Afghanistan in early February 2014. The digitally upgraded M119A3 includes software and hardware component upgrades, GPS for navigation, a digital gunner's display, and digital communication between each gun and the fire direction center to speed up the process of receiving firing data and firing shells. Firing platoons were also equipped with larger M777A2 howitzers, which were also digital, and the M119A3 was more admired for being faster, lighter, and easier to change azimuth of fire. The A3-model retains manual capabilities of the A2-model, so occasions where digital capabilities were lost allowed crews to easily transition back to the analogue mode of operation and continue their missions.

Type Towed howitzer
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Service history
Used by U.S. Armed Forces, Saudi Arabian Army, Irish Army
Production history
Manufacturer Joint Manufacturing Technology Center of Rock Island Arsenal
Produced 1989
Variants M119, M119A1, M119A2
Specifications (M119A1)
Weight With BII: 4,690 lb (2,130 kg)
Without BII: 4,270 lb (1,940 kg)
Cannon alone:1,389 lb (630 kg)
Width 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Height Combat: 7 ft 3 in (2.21 m)
Travel: 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Crew 5 to 7
Caliber 105 mm (4.13 in)
Elevation -100 to +1,244 mils
Traverse Left or right 100 mils
Rate of fire Maximum: 8 rpm for 3 minutes
Sustained: 3 rpm for 30 minutes
Maximum firing range Charge 7: 7.2 mi (11.6 km)
Charge 8: 8.5 mi (13.7 km)
Sights 3 × M90A2 telescope, M137A1 panoramic telescope

End notes