US-made M777 Howitzers for the Indian Army Arrive Tomorrow

By Arthur Dominic J. Villasanta , | May 18, 2017

M777 howitzer.

M777 howitzer.

The first two of 145 M777 155 mm Ultra-Light Towed Howitzers bought by the Indian Army will arrive from the United States tomorrow.

The M777, which is the standard 155 mm howitzer of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marines, is manufactured by BAE Systems' Global Combat Systems Division. BAE Systems said the first two guns will land in India ahead of the schedule.

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These guns will be deployed facing China along India's disputed mountainous border at Arunachal Pradesh. The light weight of this powerful weapon (it only weighs 4,200 kg) will allow the Indian Army to rapidly airlift it to hot spots along the border with either China or Pakistan.

One Indian military analyst said the M777 will be a formidable threat to China. He also said the M777 will be a much-needed boost for the Indian Army, which has been is stuck with 30 year-old howitzers that are too heavy to rapidly move around.

The Ministry of Defense gave the final clearance for acquiring the M777 late last year. Under the deal, the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems' Global Combat Systems will supply 25 M777 howitzers in fly-away condition. The remaining 125 howitzers will be assembled in India in partnership with the private sector company, Mahindra Defense Systems.

The two companies will jointly establish an assembly integration and test facility for the M777 near New Delhi.

BAE Systems describes the M777 as a "155 mm 39 caliber towed gun which, through proven technology and the innovative use of titanium and aluminum alloys, meets the requirement for rapidly deployable and accurate artillery fire support.

"M777 is the world's first 155 mm howitzer weighing less than 10,000 lbs (4,218 kg). Selected by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army as their next generation Medium Force weapon, designated M777."

BAE said the gun can fire five rounds per minute for up to two minutes. It is easily be lifted by helicopters such as the twin propeller Boeing CH-47 Chinook, which India has ordered from Boeing.

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