M777 155mm Howitzer
Lightweight Ultra Light Towed Howitzer - United States
The M777 is an ultra-light or lightweight howitzer designed and manufactured by BAE Systems. M777 is a 155mm 39 caliber towed gun that, through proven technology and the innovative use of titanium and aluminum alloys, meets the requirement for rapidly deployable and accurate artillery fire support. The M777 is the world's first 155mm Howitzer weighing less than 10000 lbs (4218 kg). Selected by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army as their next-generation Medium Force weapon, designated M777, the gun has undergone an engineering and manufacturing development program in the U.S. leading to an initial contract for 94 guns in November 2002. Further U.S. requirements will bring production to over 700 systems. M777 is now in full-rate production for the U.S. Armed Forces and is the benchmark for 155mm. It is in service with Australia, Canada, India, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and the United States. It made its combat debut in the War in Afghanistan. Following the war in Ukraine that started in February 2022, the United States has delivered several dozen of M777 howitzers to Ukraine's armed forces. According to information published on November 30, 2022, Ukraine has received from the United States 142 M777 155mm towed howitzers including the M777A2 variant with 4,200 M982 Excalibur precision-guided artillery shells. Canada has supplied Ukraine with four M777 howitzers while Australia donated 6 M777s.
- M777A1: can fire Excalibur munition
- M777A2: can fire Raytheon / Bofors XM982 Excalibur GPS / Inertial Navigation-guided extended-range 155mm projectiles using the Modular Artillery Charge Systems (MACS).
The M777 matches the firepower of current-generation 155mm towed systems at less than half the weight. The Howitzer is equipped with a 39-caliber barrel. The muzzle velocity (at Charge 8 super) is 827m/s. The M777 has a maximum firing range of 24.7 km with standard rounds and 30 km with EFRB (Extended Range Full Bore) rounds. It can also fire the M982 Excalibur GPS-guided munition, which allows accurate fire at a range of up to 40 km.
The M777 howitzer elevating mass comprises two sub-assemblies, the cradle, and the cannon tube assembly. The cradle includes four extruded titanium tubes, an accumulator, two recoil cylinders, and a balancing gear. The cannon tube assembly includes the cannon tube, muzzle brake, towing eye, primer feed mechanism, and screw breech. The carriage comprises two sub-assemblies, the body, and the saddle. The body includes two forward stabilizers and two split trails fitted with self-digging spades and dampers. Mounted on either side of the body is a hydrogas suspension unit fitted with a stub axle and aluminum-rimmed road wheels. A small hydraulic hand pump is installed at each wheel station to raise and lower the system into and out of action. The lighter weight and smaller size allow the M777 to be transported by USMC MV-22 Osprey, CH-47 helicopter or truck with ease so that it can be moved in and out of the battlefield more quickly than the M198. The smaller size also improves storage and transport efficiency in military warehouses and Air/Naval Transport. The gun crew required is an Operational Minimum of 5, compared to a previous size of 9. The first firing trials of the M777A1 with Excalibur took place in August 2003. The first production rounds were delivered in September 2006. Excalibur successfully completed a limited user test in March 2007. It was first fielded in Iraq in May 2007 and in Afghanistan in February 2008.
|The M777 has a production weight of 3,745 kg and can be transported by helicopter, transporter aircraft, and ship. The howitzer can be towed by an air-braked 4x4 vehicle greater than 2.5 t. The M777 is equipped with two wheels. When the M777 is in the firing position, a firing platform is lowered to the ground under the forward part of the carriage and the wheels are raised clear of the ground.|
|The M777 uses a digital fire-control system similar to that found on self-propelled howitzers such as the M109A6 Paladin to provide navigation, pointing and self-location, allowing it to be put into action more quickly than earlier towed and air-transported howitzers.|
|Ultralight lightweight towed howitzer||155 mm 39 caliber|
|Australia, Canada, India, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and the United States||4,200 kg|
|Designer Country||Rate of fire|
|United States / UK||5 rounds/minute|
|5 to 8 soldiers||30 km maximum, 40 km with Excalibur munition|
|Digital fire control system||Length: 9,275 m; Width: 2,770 m; Height: 2,26 m in towing mode |
Length: 10,21 m; Width: 3,720 m; Height: 0,65 m in firing mode mode
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