World's ultra lightweight howitzer makes Indian debut tom

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (UNI) The world's lightest Howitzer, M777, is making its Indian debut at the fifth DefExpo-2008, beginning here tomorrow.

The world's most battle-proven ultra lightweight 155mm towed Howitzer, manufactured by BAE Systems, a global defence and aerospace company, would be on display at the expo to be held at Pragati Maidan here.

Weighing less than 4220 kg, the M777 howitzer is also the world's first artillery system to incorporate the large-scale use of titanium and aluminium alloys, resulting in a field gun that is half the weight of conventional 155mm systems.

With its low profile, high survivability, and quick deployment and stowage capabilities, the M777 could be positioned rapidly in the most challenging theatres of operation.

''We believe M777 is the lowest-risk, most capable solution for ultra lightweight howitzer requirements,'' said Mike Mendoza, BAE Systems' managing director India.

Its modular design allows efficient, cost-effective transfer of technology and work share for industrial partners, he added.

The M777 is currently in operation with Canadian and US armed forces while 300 howitzers have been delivered to the US Army and US Marine Corps.

BAE Systems has orders for up to 400 additional systems from these existing customers.

The A2 version of the M777 incorporates a software update that enables the gun to programme and fire the M982 Excalibur guided projectile. The combined system has a maximum range of 40 km with accuracy on target of within ten metres.

The M777 could be sling-loaded by medium-lift helicopters and airdropped by C-130 transport aircraft.

The M777 is currently manufactured by BAE Systems at its facilities at Barrow-in-Furness in the UK and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in the US.

UNI AG MSJ KN2010

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