U.S. Military to supply Indian government with 145 M777A2 howitzers
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- A $737 million Foreign Military Sale that will provide the Indian government 145 M777A2 howitzers and associated engineering support was agreed to Nov. 30 as the U.S. Department of Defense and the Indian Ministry of Defence signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance.
The U.S. Army and Marine Corps' M777 howitzer program is managed by the Joint Project Manager Towed Artillery Systems, part of the Program Executive Office Ammunition located at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.
"We're looking forward to what we believe is the beginning of a great, and potentially long-term, relationship with the Indian government and their Army," said Jim Shields, the Program Executive Officer Ammunition.
"While many of the contract details are still being negotiated, PEO Ammunition will continue to work closely with the Indian government to ensure smooth execution of the case," Shields said.
India joins Australia and Canada as the third U.S. ally to purchase M777A2 howitzers.
Besides being reliable and battle-proven, the M777A2 howitzer is lightweight, which allows it be easily airlifted by helicopter in hilly terrain, such as the Himalayas in India. It was the world's first howitzer to weigh less than 10,000 lbs, a weight reduction achieved through innovative use of titanium and aluminum alloys.
"The Indian government requested that the howitzers be manufactured by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) supply chain used during US production of the M777A2 where BAE Systems was the prime contractor," said Joe Lipinski, PM-TAS lead for International Acquisition Programs.
PEO Ammunition anticipates the contract with BAE Systems to be signed by the end of the year.
PM-TAS will also manage 10 additional contracts for the Government Furnished Equipment required for the howitzer. The largest of these being the cannon assembly which will be manufactured at U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal, New York.
In addition to providing the howitzers, PEO Ammunition and BAE Systems will provide technical manuals, training programs and engineering support to develop firing tables so that the Indian Army can fire their own ammunition.
"The basic gun is the same as the howitzers that the U.S. military uses, however, they requested a different fire control system. It's the system that Canada uses on their howitzers, so it's already battle-proven," said Lipinski.
The contract also covers five years of spare parts.
Lipinski said that PEO Ammunition plans to provide two guns to India within six months to support firing tables development for the Indian ammunition.
Gun and spare parts deliveries are scheduled to begin in 21 months. PEO Ammunition will also begin training the Indian Army on the howitzers in 21 months.
This FMS compliments the Indian government's "Made in India Campaign," benefits U.S. and U.K. manufacturing and allows PEO Ammunition to save money.
"The U.S. fleet of howitzers is now in sustainment, so this LOA provides additional funding to support PM-TAS in maintaining the knowledgeable workforce developed within the PM and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center during U.S. production. We also benefit from lower costs of spare parts," said Chris Hatch, Deputy PM TAS. "Now that the howitzer will be back in production, instead of making one or two spare parts when the U.S. needs them, we will have an active production line making the 145howiters and spares. As long as the production line is going, the U.S. military and taxpayers reap the benefits of lower costs."
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