India, US ink agreement for 145 M-777 Ultra Light Artillery Guns
Paving the way for a much-needed boost to the Army's firepower, India on Wednesday signed the Letter of Agreement and Acceptance (LOA) with the U.S. for getting 145 M777 ultra light artillery guns. The deal, worth Rs. 5,000 crores, was given a go-ahead by the Union Cabinet on November 17. The Defence Ministry had approved the deal in October to strengthen the Army's firepower. The air portable 155mm/39 calibre gun, with maximum range of 30 km, is manufactured by BAE Systems.
In a statement, BAE systems welcomed the signing of LOA and said: ""The company anticipates signing a contract in the coming weeks with the US Department of Defense to supply these M777 Howitzers to the Indian Army."" According to the BAE Systems, the M777 is a highly portable gun and will prove to be a big positive in the defence arsenal. The gun is portable by land, sea and air and can be easily moved and re-deployed as per the defence forcesâ needs in all theatres of war.
It said that India will join the U.S., Canadian and Australian forces in gaining the M777âs unmatched strategic and tactical mobility.
âWe look forward to providing the Indian Army with the combat-proven M777,â said Dr. Joe Senftle, Vice President and General Manager for Weapon Systems at BAE Systems. âOur plan to establish a domestic Assembly, Integration and Test facility further demonstrates our commitment to âMake in Indiaâ and remains a firm part of our strategy to work with the Indian defense sector across Air, Land, Sea and Security.â
At half the weight of other 155mm towed howitzers, the M777 provides a rapid reaction capability and a proven pedigree that delivers decisive firepower when needed most in sustained combat conditions.
With more than 1,090 M777s in service, it is the only battle-proven 155mm Ultra-lightweight howitzer in the world. It will remain at the forefront of artillery technology well into the future through the use of technical insertions, long-range precision guided munition developments, and flexible mobility options, the manufacturer said.
Earlier this year, encouraged by Prime Minister Narendra Modiâs call to âMake in Indiaâ, BAE Systems announced a plan to establish an Assembly, Integration & Testing (AIT) facility in India which will expand our global supply chain and is an integral part of the offset offer to the Government of India.
The offset offer commits to investing in, and the development of, a number of Indian defence suppliers, providing them with access to the BAE Systems group across Air, Land, Sea and Security programs. The conclusion of this procurement will enable BAE Systems to make an investment of over $200 million in those Indian defence suppliers, it said."