After a wait of long-long 30 years since the Bofors scandal, the Indian Army got the first two 7 A-2 (Indian) ultra-light howitzers (ULH) from BAE systems of the US on 18th May 2017. The two guns are part of the 25 ready-built weapons that will be supplied by the US over the next two years. Here are some features and facts regarding M777.
Features and Important facts regarding M777
- For now the M777 is used by the ground forces of Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia.
- This is a part of an order for 145 long-range guns which will be mostly deployed on borders.
- The M-777 A-2 ultra-light howitzers (ULH).
- M777 has a maximum range of 30 km.
- It was first tested in Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan for test firing.
- $750-million deal for 145 artillery guns signed by India and US.
- Three more guns India will receive in September 2018 for training.
- M777 guns have been used during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Thereafter, introduction if M777 will begin from March 2019 onwards at the rate of five guns every month till complete consignment is received by mid-2021.
- While 25 guns will come in a fly-away condition, the rest will be assembled in India by the BAE Systems in partnership with Mahindra Defence.
- The 155 mm, 39-calibre guns will fire Indian ammunitions.
- The Indian Army is in urgent need of ULH so it had proceeded through a government-to-government deal with the US in November 2016 for the supply of the 145 howitzers for a cost of nearly Rs 5000 crore. India had last procured howitzers in the mid-1980s from Swedish defence major Bofors.
Bofors that was taken from Sweden was the last modern artillery gun that was inducted into the Army in last 1980s and beginning of 1990s, when late Rajiv Gandhi led Congress was in power in the country.