The M777 lightweight 155-mm towed howitzer is lighter and smaller
The Howitzer M777 weighs 9200 pounds compared to the M109 Howitzer at 49,940 pounds, making it highly mobile and easily transportable by C130 aircraft, helicopter or a truck of at least 2.5 tonnes.
Features of Howitzer M777
It can be equipped with a digital fire control system and loaded with precision-guided munitions that use location data from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and an inertial navigation unit to steer precisely to the target.
This gives the artillery the ability to destroy targets with increased accuracy, leading to less collateral damage.
The M777 can also be combined with the new Excalibur GPS-guided munitions, which allow accurate fire to 30 km.
The M777 provides close and deep fire support without sacrificing range, stability, accuracy or durability.
It is equipped with a highly advanced Digital Gun Management System which enables the crew to destroy targets in a very precise manner at all range distances.
- Weight: 4200 kg
- Sustained rate of fire: 2 rounds per minute
- Maximum rate of fire: 4 rounds per minute
- Minimum range of fire: 2600 m
- Maximum range of fire: 30,000 m
The 155mm M777 Howitzer is the core strategic artillery system of the future, soon to become the NATO standard weapon in its class. The gun is already in high demand from nations worldwide, recognising the unique structure and capability of providing artillery support to early entry and rapid reaction forces. A revolutionary gun system meeting the demands of today’s security environment.
The BAe (British Aerospace) M777 howitzer is the primary towed artillery piece of the US armed forces, and has effectively replaced the preceding M198 howitzer.
It is one of the smallest and lightest weapons of its type ever constructed, due to a combination of a titanium alloy construction and a methodical elimination of as much mass as possible.
Though presently produced in the US, the M777 is actually a development of a British design.
India inducting Howitzer M777 to its Indian Army
- This will be the first induction of modern 155mm artillery guns by the Army since the 1980s.
- The howitzers will be taken to the Pokhran ranges for testing.
- The M-777 guns are primarily meant for the front with China
- India is likely to buy 145 M777 Howitzers for $750 million to equip its Mountain Strike Corps.
- The decision to buy ultra-light Howitzers produced by BAE Systems under the ‘Make In India’ program
- The artillery gun programme to equip the Mountain Strike Corps is being finalised as India and the US are in agreement on its “make in India” component.
- The gun will come with laser inertial artillery pointing systems (LINAPS), maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services.
- In India, the BAE Systems had tied up Mahindra as its business partner for its proposed in-country assembly, integration and test (AIT) facility for the M777 Howitzer.
- The 13-lakh strong Army has not inducted a single 155mm artillery gun since the Bofors scandal brought down the Rajiv Gandhi government, and derailed all plans for technology transfer and indigenous manufacture.
- The Army has been demanding 155mm/39-calibre ultra-light howitzers like the M-777s, with a strike range from 24 to 40-km depending on the kind of ammunition used, for almost 15 years now as part of the overall plan to build robust conventional deterrence against China.
- Weighing just over 4-tonne due to the use of titanium, the M-777 can swiftly be airlifted to high-altitudes areas up to 16,000-feet in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control with China.
- The M-777 howitzers will equip the new 17 Mountain Strike Corps, which the Army is raising by cannibalizing its existing reserves, for the China front.
With two infantry divisions geared for mountain warfare, and associated artillery, air defence and armoured brigades, the 17 Corps will be fully in place with 90,274 troops by 2021.