BAE Systems (Stand 05-C25) is now back in production of its 155mm/39 calibre M777 series lightweight towed howitzer after India finally signed a deal for 145 weapons in 2016.
The Indian M777 will be fitted with the Leonardo (previously Selex EO) Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing System (LINAPS), which increases accuracy and speeds up deployment time.
Production and final assembly was carried out at the DLSI (Mahindra - Defence Land Systems India) facility in Delhi India.
About 70 per cent of the weapon is manufactured in the US, including the complete ordnance which is made at Watervliet Arsenal, with the remaining 30 per cent made in the UK.
The lightweight towed howitzer weighs 4,437kg and, firing an unassisted 155mm high-explosive (HE) projectile, a maximum range of 24.7km is achieved. When firing an assisted HE projectile, range is increased to 30km. It can also fire the Raytheon 155mm M982 Excalibur precision-guided projectile to a maximum range of 40km, with a typical circular error of probability of less than 10m.
Conventional bag charges can be used as well as a modular charge system (MCS), with a maximum of five MCS being used to achieve maximum range. A burst rate of fire of four rounds a minute can be attained, as a flick rammer is mounted on the right side, and a sustained rate of fire of two rounds a minute.
The M777 is normally towed by a 6x6 cross-country truck, which carries the crew of seven, ammunition and stores.
BAE Systems now has a company demonstrator for overseas trials and this has already been demonstrated in the UAE.
Sales of the M777 have been already been made to Australia (54), Canada (37) and the USA (999), with the Canadian army being the first to deploy this on active service, in Afghanistan.