New Delhi: For the first time BAE Systems will display what it claims is the world's most battle-proven lightweight 155mm towed howitzer at the 5th Defence and Naval Exhibition (DefExpo) in New Delhi, India. The exposition is open for public viewing and interactions from 16-19 February 2008.
According to BAE, the M777 howitzer is the world's first artillery system to incorporate large-scale use of titanium and aluminium alloys, which results in a field gun that is half the weight of conventional 155mm systems. At less than 4220kg, it is the world's lightest 155mm howitzer.
With its low profile, high survivability, and quick deployment and stowage capabilities, the M777 can be positioned rapidly in the most challenging theatres of operation.
Interestingly, BAE Systems brings the howitzer into public gaze even as reports emerge in the media that the Indian Army is preparing to raise two new mountain divisions, trained and equipped for swift offensive operations in the mountains of the northern and north-eastern parts of the country.
The two new mountain divisions will not only have 'integral tactical air mobility assets' in the shape of medium to heavy-lift helicopters, but shall also be equipped with new ultra-light howitzers which are planned for induction in the near future.
Reports suggest that the Army is hunting for 140 ultra-light pieces at a cost of around Rs2,900 crore in its Rs12,000-crore artillery modernization plan.
Meanwhile, Mike Mendoza, BAE Systems' managing director, India said that BAE believes that the M777 ''is the lowest-risk, most capable solution for ultra lightweight howitzer requirements.
Its modular design allows efficient, cost-effective transfer of technology and work share for industrial partners.''
According to BAE Systems, the M777 is currently in operation with the Canadian and US armed forces, with 300 howitzers delivered to the US Army and US Marine Corps. BAE Systems has orders for up to 400 additional systems from these existing customers.
The A2 version of the M777 incorporates a software update that enables the gun to programme and fire the M982 Excalibur guided projectile. The combined system has a maximum range of 40km with accuracy on target of within ten metres.
The M777 can be sling-loaded by medium-lift helicopters and airdropped by C-130 transport aircraft.
BAE Systems is one of the leading global defence and aerospace companies of the world.
At the DefExpo 2008 BAE Systems will be located at Stand 12, Hall 10.