There are tangible signs that Chile's long-planned purchase of U.S. self-propelled howitzers is becoming a reality. BAE Systems Land and Armaments, of York, Pa., was awarded a $7 million contract to refurbish a dozen M109A+ self-propelled howitzers for Chile, the U.S. Defense Department announced. Work is due to be completed in November, 2012. The howitzers were part of a larger acquisition announced in 2009 to re-equip mechanized artillery units. That included one batch of 12 M-109A3 and an additional dozen M-109A5. It's possible that one batch of M-109s has already been delivered. Chile's disclosures in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms showed a 2009 purchase of 12 self-propelled howitzers, although it didn't specify the model. The Army's plan is to equip each of its armored brigades with its own mechanized artillery battalion. Two battalions, each with 12 M-109s, have been operational for a few years.