$834 Million for Ultra-Lightweight M777A1 Howitzers
The M777 ultra-lightweight towed 155mm howitzer is a joint program between the Army and Marine Corps to replace the 155mm M198. Britain is also a partner, but Canada became the first country to field them in combat via an emergency buy before their “Operation Archer” Afghanistan deployment.
The weapon has an integrated digital fire control systems, and can fire all existing 155mm projectiles. This 8,250 pound howitzer, which saves 7,000 pounds of weight by making extensive use of titanium and titanium castings, is designed to be transportable by Marine Corps MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft and/or airdropped by C-130 aircraft. It will perform fire support for U.S. Marine Air Ground Task Forces and U.S. Army Stryker Brigade Combat Teams…
M777: Capabilities and Upgrades
The A2 version of the howitzer incorporates a software update that enables the howitzer to program and fire the M982 Excalibur GPS-guided shell, bringing the gun’s maximum range from 30km/ 18 miles to 40km/ 24 miles, with accuracy on target to within 10 meters.
The M777A2 version of the howitzer will be the version issued to all U.S. Army and USMC units, and previously-equipped M777A1 howitzer units will receive a software upgrade to bring their systems to A2 standard. The 2nd Battalion 11th Field Artillery Regiment at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii was equipped with M777A1 howitzers in January 2007. They will be converted to the A2 version later in 2007. As of July 2007, both the 11th Marine Regiment and the 10th Marine Regiment have received the M777A2 version; and the 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Bragg, NC, is currently undergoing initial fielding of the M777A2 for the U.S. Army.
Contracts and Key Events
Dec 2/05: The 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery conducts an inaugural firing today of the first 155mm, M777 towed howitzers delivered to the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND). BAE release.
March 24/05: BAE Systems announces an $834 million dollar contract for full-rate production of the M777A1 155mm howitzer. Under the production contract, issued by the Joint Program Office in Picatinny, NJ, BAE Systems will manufacture 495 howitzers between 2005-2009. The howitzer is assembled at BAE Systems’ integration facility in Hattiesburg, MS, and incorporates components manufactured in 10 states and the U.K.
- Military.com Soldier Tech – Massive Attack: The M777 Ultralightweight Field Howitzer
- Army Technology – M777 Ultralightweight Field Howitzer, BAE Systems:
- BAE Systems (July 25/07) - M777 Lightweight Howitzer Update Gives More Range And Accuracy. Describes the minor modifications that make up the M777A2, which will be the fielded version.
- BAE Systems (March 24/05) – BAE Systems Awarded $834 Million Contract For Lightweight Howitzer.