In­dia signs M777 how­itzers

• BAE Sys­tems to de­liver 145 M777 ul­tra-light how­itzers • Deal go­ing to be worth ` 5,000 crore • BAE Sys­tems makes com­mit­ment of $200 mil­lion in In­dian de­fence sup­pli­ers

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - [ By R. Chan­drakanth

BAE Sys­tems in a state­ment has wel­comed the signed let­ter of agree­ment and ac­cep­tance for In­dian M777 how­itzers. It stated “In­dia will join the US, Cana­dian and Aus­tralian forces in gain­ing the M777’s un­matched strate­gic and tac­ti­cal mo­bil­ity.”

“We look for­ward to pro­vid­ing the In­dian Army with the com­bat-proven M777,” said Dr Joe Sen­f­tle, Vice Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral Man­ager for Weapon Sys­tems at BAE Sys­tems. “Our plan to es­tab­lish a do­mes­tic assem­bly, in­te­gra­tion and test fa­cil­ity, fur­ther demon­strates our com­mit­ment to ‘Make in In­dia’ and re­mains a firm part of our strat­egy to work with the In­dian de­fence sec­tor across air, land, sea and se­cu­rity.”

BAE Sys­tems sign­ing the con­tract in the com­ing weeks with the US Depart­ment of De­fense to sup­ply the how­itzers to the In­dian Army. BAE Sys­tems said that the M777 how­itzers were half the weight of other 155mm towed how­itzers. The M777 will pro­vide rapid re­ac­tion ca­pa­bil­ity. It has a proven pedi­gree that de­liv­ers de­ci­sive fire­power when needed most in sus­tained com­bat con­di­tions.

There are over 1,090 M777s in ser­vice across the globe and is said to be the only bat­tle-proven 155mm ul­tra-light­weight how­itzer in the world. BAE Sys­tems said that it would re­main in the fore­front of ar­tillery tech­nol­ogy well into the fu­ture through the use of tech­ni­cal

in­ser­tions, long range pre­ci­sion guided mu­ni­tion de­vel­op­ments, and flex­i­ble mo­bil­ity op­tions.

BAE Sys­tems stated: “Ear­lier this year, en­cour­aged by Prime Min­is­ter Modi’s call to ‘Make in In­dia’, BAE Sys­tems an­nounced a plan to es­tab­lish an Assem­bly In­te­gra­tion and Test­ing (AIT) fa­cil­ity in In­dia which will ex­pand our global sup­ply chain and is an in­te­gral part of the off­set of­fer to the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia.” It fur­ther added: “The off­set of­fer com­mits to in­vest­ing in, and the de­vel­op­ment of a num­ber of In­dian de­fence sup­pli­ers, pro­vid­ing them with ac­cess to the BAE Sys­tems group across air, land, sea and se­cu­rity pro­grammes. The con­clu­sion of this pro­cure­ment pro­gramme will en­able BAE Sys­tems to make an in­vest­ment of over $200 mil­lion in those de­fence sup­pli­ers.”

Un­der the for­eign mil­i­tary sales (FMS) pro­gramme, In­dia and the US have agreed to sign deal wherein the lat­ter will sell through BAE Sys­tems 145 M777 ul­tra-light how­itzers. The deal when signed will be worth ` 5,000 crore and re­port­edly the how­itzers will be de­ployed on the bor­ders, par­tic­u­larly along the Chi­nese bor­der.

With In­dia sign­ing the let­ter of ac­cep­tance which for­malises the con­tract be­tween In­dia and the US for the how­itzers, the next steps will be worked out soon. Only re­cently, the In­dian Cabi­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity (CCS) also had cleared the guns. The agree­ment re­port­edly was inked at the 15th In­dia-US Mil­i­tary Co­op­er­a­tion Group (MCG) in Delhi. The In­dia-US MCG is a fo­rum es­tab­lished to progress de­fence co­op­er­a­tion be­tween HQ In­te­grated De­fence Staff and US Pa­cific Com­mand at the strate­gic and op­er­a­tional lev­els.

The meet­ing com­menced with the US Co-Chair Lt Gen­eral David H. Berger, Com­man­der US Marine Corps Forces, Pa­cific calling on Lt Gen­eral Satish Dua, CISC, HQ IDS. The MCG meet­ing was cochaired by Air Mar­shal A.S. Bhon­sle DCIDS (Op­er­a­tions), HQ IDS. It is re­ported that a 260-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion from the US De­fence Forces and sev­eral of­fi­cers from the three Ser­vices HQ and HQ IDS rep­re­sent­ing the In­dian side at­tended the bi­lat­eral event.

The off­sets, un­der which BAE Sys­tems man­u­fac­turer of the gun, will in­vest about $200 mil­lion, will be pur­sued in­de­pen­dently. While 25 guns will come to In­dia in a fly­away con­di­tion, the rest will be as­sem­bled at the pro­posed Assem­bly In­te­gra­tion and Test fa­cil­ity for the weapon sys­tem in In­dia in part­ner­ship with Mahin­dra. The first two how­itzers will be de­liv­ered within six months of the con­tract be­ing inked, while rest will be de­liv­ered at the rate of two per month.

The how­itzers are go­ing to make sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ence in the ar­tillery which last im­ported ar­tillery guns nearly three decades back with the con­tro­ver­sial Bo­fors guns.

The M777 will pro­vide rapid re­ac­tion ca­pa­bil­ity. It has a proven pedi­gree that de­liv­ers de­ci­sive fire­power when needed most in sus­tained com­bat con­di­tions.

Un­matched strate­gic and tac­ti­cal mo­bil­ity: BAE Sys­tems’ M777 how­itzer

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