M777 soon to deploy on operations with U.S. MARINE CORPS
London, United Kingdom. - M777, the BAE Systems 155mm lightweight towed howitzer now in full rate production for the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), will be deployed over the next few months with the U.S. Marines into Afghanistan and Iraq, leading to urgent operational requirements and field service support which BAE Systems will be providing.
The howitzer has already earned a name for itself in theatre in Afghanistan, where it is in operations with the Canadian Armed Forces. The Canadians are using M777 to provide indirect fire support to UK and U.S. forces and its performance has received very positive feedback from Canadian troops who have dubbed it “The King of Battle”.
The M777 is the world’s first artillery system to incorporate the large-scale use of titanium and aluminium alloys in gun design, which has reduced the weight of the howitzer to less than 10,000 lbs.
Through proven technology and the innovative use of alloys, the highly mobile M777 delivers rapidly deployable and accurate fire support. The howitzer can be transported by medium-lift helicopters and transport aircraft which makes it ideal for operations in Afghanistan.
The A2 version incorporates a software update that enables the howitzer to programme and fire the M982 Excalibur guided projectile. The Excalibur projectile will give the M777A2 howitzer a maximum range of 40km with accuracy on target within ten metres. The recent receipt of a Full Material Release from the Commanding General of the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command means that the necessary upgrades can be issued to U.S. Army and USMC units.
The U.S. Army and Marines selected the M777, designed by BAE Systems in the early 1990s to replace the M198 towed howitzer, as their next generation medium-force weapon. From an initial contract for 94 guns in 2002, further requirements will bring production to more than 700 systems. The Canadian Armed Forces also have 12 M777 systems in service.
The M777 is manufactured by BAE Systems at its facilities at Barrow-in-Furness in the UK and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in the US.
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