India: tests of M777A2 155mm howitzer restarted

New tests of the US-made M777A2  howitzer started on 19 March at the Pokhran firing range, in Jaisalmer district (Rajahstan), India. On September 2, 2017 the tests were suspended after a misfire: a shell exploded in the barrel

India tests of M777A2 155mm howitzer restarted 925 001
Battle Group Poland U.S. Solders, assigned to Bulldog Battery, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, along with 10th Mountain Combat Aviation Brigade, conduct sling load and air assault training with M777A2 Howitzers, during Saber Strike 2017, at Bemowo Piskie Training Area near Orzysz, Poland, June 7, 2017. (Picture source U.S. MoD)

Last Monday, Indian army officers, US delegates, representatives of Bae Systems and other experts came to attend the re-starting of the firing tests. This time, the firing test – involving two howitzers – are aiming at targets distant of 40-45 km, instead of the 3-4 km last September. The howitzers are being tested in high temperatures of Jaisalmer, Rajahstan, which means 45 to 50 degrees Celsius.

Theoretically, four shells per minute can be fired. These shells destroy everything in a 50m radius but also caused heavy damage in a 200m radius.

For the Indian army, the 4-ton M777A2  represents a major upgrade in comparison with its old Bofors howitzer, which weighs 11 tons. In a huge country where mountains and jungles are countless, light howitzers such as the aero transportable M777A2, represents a major upgrade of the artillery firepower. The 155mm shells would be locally manufactured.

The $737 million contract foresees that, from March 2019, five guns will be delivered every month, to reach a total of 145 guns by June 2021. Actually, a total of 25 howitzers will be imported from the US and 120 remaining ones will be manufactured in India by Mahindra.

The M777A2 is an improved version of the standard M777 lightweight 155mm towed howitzer (referred as LW155 in U.S. army) designed and manufactured by the Company BAE Systems. The M777A2 is a towed 155 mm Howitzer jointly developed by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps to replace the M198 155mm towed howitzer.

The M777A2 lightweight 155mmm towed howitzer can fire the full ranges of U.S. 155mm ammunition including unassisted projectiles to a range of 24 km and assisted projectiles to 30 km. With the upgraded fire controls system, it can also fire Excalibur Precision 155 mm Projectiles, Global Positioning System (GPS)-guided, extended-range artillery projectile M982 and M982A1 at a maximum range of 40 km.


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