Friday, January 29, 2010

Lightweight Howitzers Through U.S. Foreign Military Sales

Lightweight Howitzers Through U.S. Foreign Military Sales
NEW DELHI — The Indian government has requested to purchase 145 M777 155mm Lightweight Towed Howitzers through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
The request includes warranty, spare parts, support and test equipment, documentation, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, technical assistance from U.S. government and contractor representatives, and logistics support
services. The estimated cost is $647 million.
BAE Systems, whose U.S. Land Systems division manufactures the M777, said it welcomes the news of the U.S. Congressional notification of a potential FMS purchase
of the M777 ultra light weight howitzer by the Government of India.
“The M777 is, by some considerable margin, the lightest 155mm howitzer in the world, and the only system proven in battle,” the company said.
Significant work share would be completed in India by the Mahindra and BAE Systems joint venture company. The intention is that the joint venture company will become an Indian center of excellence for artillery systems, BAE Systems
spokesman Guy Douglas told Aviation Week.
India intends to use the howitzers to modernize its armed forces and enhance its ability to operate in hazardous conditions.
The howitzers will assist the Indian army to develop and enhance standardization and to improve interoperability with U.S. soldiers and Marines who use the M777 as their primary means of indirect fire. India will have no difficulty absorbing these weapons into its armed forces, according to the request.
There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential purchase.
More than 860 M77 howitzers are on contract around the world. A total of 572 are in active service. An order of 145 from India would take the number ordered to more than 1,000.
The challenge set when developing the gun was that it was optimized for versatility, counter fire, and offensive operations in support of light and medium forces. BAE says it is more mobile, rapidly deployable, survivable and accurate than the M198 it was to replace, as well as 40 percent lighter, with a 25 percent smaller footprint and 21 percent lower profile.
- Neelam Mathews (

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