U.S. Army engineers work to create a new longer M777 155mm howitzer under the name M777ER 13103162

Military Defense Industry Technology - M777ER
 
U.S. Army engineers work to create a new longer M777 155mm howitzer under the name M777ER
U.S. Picatinny Arsenal engineers have been working to create a longer, newly modified M777A2 howitzer under the project name of M777ER that has the potential to double the system’s current artillery range. The modification adds six feet (1.8 m) to the cannon and less than 1,000 pounds (450 kg) to the overall system. A mobility demonstration is the first step to determine if the howitzer can be modified for extended range, or if a new system is required.
     
U.S. Picatinny Arsenal engineers have been working to create a longer, newly modified M777A2 howitzer under the project name of M777ER that has the potential to double the system’s current artillery range. The modification adds six feet (1.8 m) to the cannon and less than 1,000 pounds (450 kg) to the overall system. A mobility demonstration is the first step to determine if the howitzer can be modified for extended range, or if a new system is required. The newly modified M777A2 howitzer has the potential to double the system’s current artillery range. Photo by Erin Usawicz.
     

The Extended Range Cannon Artillery, or ERCA, project is funded by ARDEC’s science and technology office and charged with developing technology to extend the range of all 155mm artillery. The ERCA program develops not only the XM907 cannon but also products, such as the XM1113 rocket assisted projectile, the XM654 supercharge, an autoloader, and new fire control system.

To begin efforts to test mobility, PM-TAS demonstrated a modified M777A2 Howitzer with an integration kit for the mass mock-up of the modified XM907 ERCA cannon at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. Follow-on mobility testing will be conducted at Aberdeen Proving Grround, Maryland, to document the changes in mobility from a standard M777A2, if any.

The demonstration will not include firing the weapon, but will show how the gun responds when it travels and how it feels when the crew interacts with the controls.

With nearly 1,000 pounds (450 kg) added to the system’s overall weight and an additional six feet (1.8 m) of cannon tube, the demonstration is taking place to give the Soldiers and Marines more confidence that the gun will still meet all of its mobility requirements.

The mobility tube consists of an old 52-caliber tube that was modified to fit into an M777A2 at the weight of the XM907. Additionally, grooves were added to the exterior of the tube to allow Picatinny engineers to hang weights at different positions, enabling them to move the center of gravity of the weapon forward or rear.
     
U.S. Picatinny Arsenal engineers have been working to create a longer, newly modified M777A2 howitzer under the project name of M777ER that has the potential to double the system’s current artillery range. The modification adds six feet (1.8 m) to the cannon and less than 1,000 pounds (450 kg) to the overall system. A mobility demonstration is the first step to determine if the howitzer can be modified for extended range, or if a new system is required. U.S. Navy Cmdr. Vernon Stanfield, blue uniform left, an executive officer, receives information on an M777A2 Howitzer on the flight deck aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) June 12, 2011
     
This cannon will allow the Army and the Marines to assess the impacts to the M777 and how it’s operated as the ERCA program optimizes the cannon design.

“Right now (the M777) can shoot about 30 kilometers, but once all of the upgrades are complete it will be able to shoot about 70 kilometers,” said David Bound, M777ER Lead, Artillery Concepts and Design Branch.
 
 

“So, it will be able to reach out and hit targets well in excess before the targets can reach them. It will also give a lot of operational over match so the warfighter won’t have to worry about coming into a situation where they are under fire before they can return fire,” said Bound.

After the ERCA program, the M777ER program is engaged in making sure that ERCA’s system is suitable for the M777 system.

The final ERCA system will be demonstrated with an M109A7 system, which is the Paladin self-propelled howitzer.
 

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