15th June 2016 – 7:00by Ian Kemp in Paris
India’s Defense Acquisition Council is scheduled to approve the acquisition of the BAE Systems towed M777 Lightweight 155mm Howitzer systems when it meets next week.
The council’s decision will then be passed to the Finance Minister.
BAE Systems is displaying the latest US Army standard M777A2 at Eurosatory along with the company’s Archer 155mm/52cal wheel self-propelled howitzer which is now in series production for the Swedish Army.
The Indian Army has a long standing desire to acquire the M777 and in 2010 requested pricing through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales programme for 145 M777s. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency costed the project at $647 million but this had escalated to $885 million by late 2013.
As BAE System’s M777 production facility at Hattiesburg, Mississippi was ‘suspended’ when production for existing customers finished in early 2014 some of the additional cost reflects establishing a local production line in India. Senior Indian officers have stated the service could eventually acquire several hundred weapons.
Geoff Gonzalez, head of campaigns for Europe and the Americas at BAE Systems Weapon Systems – UK, highlighted a number of initiatives being pursued by BAE Systems to further improve the M777 performance, the most notable being the HyPAK (Hydraulic Power Assist Kit) to speed up operations and reduce potential crew fatigue. Gonzalez also noted that the digital direct fire sight which the Indian Army wants fitted to its weapons is also now attracting the interest of the US customer.
To extend the range of the the M777 the US Army is evaluating a longer 52cal barrel developed through the Extended Range Cannon Artillery project, funded by the US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. As the longer barrel adds 453kg to the weight of the weapon Gonzalez said that BAE Systems is examining how additional weight can be shaved off the M777A2. He said the 52cal barrel will likely be part of a mission kit that is fitted when operational circumstance require.
Gonzalez said that BAE Systems is refurbishing some of the 92 Hamel guns, the Australian and New Zealand designation for the locally-built variant of the popular BAE Systems 105mm Light Gun, which the company bought from Australia when it was replaced by the M777. He predicted there would be interest in Latin America and the Middle East from armies seeking a proven, cost effective artillery system.
Original post @shephardmedia.com
I’m getting used to how India flip flops!
Last time they announced that the M777 was out of the running!
“Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) is currently spearheading the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun (ATAG) project to develop a 155-millimetre 52-calibre Towed Gun by 2016, India already has dropped plans to acquire M777 Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH) from US due to Higher Purchase cost” Source @defencetalk.net
US Army, USMC
31 ft 2 in
MAX RATE OF FIRE
18.6 mi; (Excalibur)25 mi
The M777 Lightweight 155mm howitzer provides timely, accurate and continuous firepower in support of Marine and Army infantry forces and replaces the M198 towed Howitzer.
In 2005, the Army and Marine Corps began fielding the M777, a much smaller, lighter (9,000 pounds lighter) and more maneuverable towed cannon weapon than its predecessor, resulting in improved transportability and mobility without impacting range or accuracy. Seven-ton trucks are used to move the M777s, enabling artillery units to move faster between positions.
A must for equipment in an expeditionary force, the howitzer is also highly deployable, able to be lifted externally by both the MV-22 Osprey and CH-53E Super Stallion and a single CH-47 Chinook.