M777 deal to be signed soon
A long-delayed deal for 145 M777 ultra-light howitzers is to be signed shortly between New Delhi and Washington. India first expressed interest in the BAE Systems gun over seven years ago in January 2006. The deal is expected to be worth over $600 million, and will be India’s first purchase of artillery since the Bofors episode (notably, BAE Systems now owns the Bofors artillery company in Sweden).
Other than 145 M777 guns, the deal will also include laser inertial artillery pointing systems (LINAPS), warranty, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, US Government and contractor representa- tives’ technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support, according to the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) that has processed the request over the years. Notably, the MoD is currently in contract negotiations with Boeing to buy 15 CH-47F Chinook heavylift helicopters for the IAF—a platform that has demonstrated a capability to transport the M777 as an underslung payload—a mandatory requirement for the ultra-light requirement in the Indian Army.