Army responsible for loud booms in rural Coryell County

Paladin artillery system. (Fort Hood photo)
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LEVITA, Texas (KWTX) Tests of a new artillery system are the source of the large booms that residents of western Coryell County have heard over the past several days.

Coryell County Chief Deputy Mark Wilcox said several residents who live west of Gatesville toward Evant have reported loud booms during the middle of the day that seem to be coming from the south.

Wilcox said he checked with Fort Hood and learned that the booms are coming from a testing range where soldiers are testing a newly deployed tracked artillery system called the Paladin.

A Fort Hood spokesman said Wednesday the training involves firing the Paladin’s 155-mm artillery system.

The Paladin is an upgraded system on the M109 self-propelled howitzer, a version of which has been in service for many years.

The M109 system, which actually includes a family of weapons, is the most often deployed indirect fire systems in use worldwide.

The Paladin has a crew of six soldiers, including a section chief, driver, gunner and assistant gunner and two ammunition handlers, but it can operate effectively with only crew of four.