M777: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Howitzer
December 2/16: Contracts have been signed between India and the US subsidiary of BAE Systems for the provision of of 145 M777A2 LW155 ultralight howitzers. The $737 million deal will see BAE partner with Indian private sector defense company Mahindra Defence Systems to assemble 120 ultralight howitzers, while the remaining 25 guns will be supplied over the next three years. Meanwhile, neighboring Pakistan’s own self-propelled howitzer competition is shaping up , with South Africa’s Denel and Serbia’s Yugoimport-SDPR offering their T5-52 and NORA B-52 guns respectively.
The M777 ultra-lightweight towed 155mm howitzer has an integrated digital fire control system, and can fire all existing 155mm projectiles. Nothing new there. What is new is the fact that this 9,700 pound howitzer saves over 6,000 pounds of weight by making extensive use of titanium and advanced aluminum alloys, allowing it to be carried by Marine Corps MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft or medium helicopters, and/or airdropped by C-130 aircraft. The new gun is a joint program between the US Army and Marine Corps to replace existing 155mm M198s, and will perform fire support for U.S. Marine Air Ground Task Forces and U.S. Army Stryker Brigade Combat Teams.
Britain is the USA’s M777 LWH co-development partner, but Canada became the first country to field it in combat, thanks to an emergency buy before their 2006 “Operation Archer” deployment to Afghanistan. Customers now include the US Army & USMC, Australia, and Canada – but not Britain.
M777: Capabilities and Upgrades
M777: Contracts and Key Events
FY 2016 – 2017
FY 2011 – 2012
FY 2009 – 2010
FY 2007 – 2008
FY 2005 – 2006
Additional Readings & Sources
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