• Provide boost to Indian Army
  • Asset to Indian Gunners

 New Delhi. 28 September 2022. It was just a fortnight ago that  Indian Army deployed the M777 Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH) in the Rest of Arunachal Pradesh (RALP) area, beyond the Tawang sector. They are in the vicinity of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) protecting Sino Indian border in North-East and aiding Indian Army’s vigil to keep ite nation safe. BAESystems has been a part of Indian Army’s modernisation plan with it’s M 777 guns providing strength to the Artillery Corps.

As the corps celebrates its 195th Raising Day today  a look from the Indian perspective highlights the benefits that the M777 brings to the Artillery , that is increased level of mobility, providing 155mm firepower and lethality, with hugely enhanced mobility; being able to transport the platform to difficult-to-reach or sometimes impossible-to-reach regions. The M777 brings the whole new level of increased capability to be able to access those areas – high mountain regions, remote islands, any rapid deployment operation. You can tow it, air-lift, air-drop it, etc., etc. Increased mobility and rapid deployment would be the primary benefit that the Indian artillery have gained from the M777 procurement.

Ravi Nirgurkar, India Head, BAE Systems
Ravi Nirgurkar, India Head, BAE Systems

Ravi Nirgudkar, Managing Director – India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, BAE Systems in an exclusive to ADU stated, “Our heartiest congratulations to the Indian Army and the Regiment of Artillery on 196th Gunners Day. As a founding partner of defence manufacturing in India, BAE Systems takes immense pride in having a seven-decade long association with India and the Indian Armed Forces. We are also privileged to work in close collaboration with the Indian Army to support their artillery modernization with our M777 ultra-lightweight howitzers. With minimal logistical support and maximum reliability, M777 provides the Indian Army with exceptional tactical and strategic mobility. As India moves forward towards greater self-reliance in defence, BAE Systems is committed to helping modernise India’s defence capabilities with its cutting-edge, industry-leading technologies in alignment with our “Co-creating for a Self-Reliant India” strategy.”

The M777 is manufactured by BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division. Prime contract management is based in Barrow-in-Furness in the United Kingdom as well as manufacture and assembly of the titanium structures and associated recoil components. Final integration and testing of the weapon is undertaken at BAE’s facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA.

The commencement of supply of these combat proven titanium artillery guns from an M777 Assembly Integration and Test (AIT) facility at Faridabad is a big landmark in the estimated $750 Million programme to equip the Indian Army’s mountain warfare formations with light artillery. The facility has been set up by BAE, the original equipment manufacturer, in partnership with and forms the core of the Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd in India element for this deal and has to disburse offsets obligations of this deal. About 40 Indian companies have been brought into the BAE supply chain to meet the M777 offsets commitments. AIT facility is also meant to ensure that life cycle support is available locally for the Indian Army M777s, thereby increasing operational availability of these weapons.

The Excalibur precision munition recently acquired for the Indian Army can also be combined with the M777, which is combat proven in Afghanistan. The Excalibur reportedly extends the range of this ultra light gun to about 40 km. Added to that, the Indian Army has chosen an extremely reliable and battle-proven artillery platform, mature in design, and in service for over 10 years. It is an extremely simple design. It’s designed for light weight and reliability, is simple and easy to operate and maintain, stable and accurate.

At 4,200 kg, the M777 is half the weight of a conventional 155 mm towed gun, enabling it to be slung under helicopters for airlift to distant mountainous frontiers. The ultra light howitzer is intended to provide the principal artillery firepower to the Indian Army‘s Integrated Battle Groups deployed in the mountains. The total number of guns delivered to India are nearly 90 and the delivery should be complete by the end of this year. A journey which started with the first delivery in 2017 should be coming to an end  five years hence in 2022.