Extremely reliable and battle-proven: BAE Systems on M777 Howitzers
New Delhi , Nov 09 : British defence company BAE Systems, on Friday congratulated India over the induction of the M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers, saying that it is the first step in their Make-in-India commitment.
Echoing similar thoughts, the Group President of Mahindra Group's Aerospace and Defence Sector and the chairman of Mahindra Defence Systems, S. P. Shukla, said: "This is a landmark event with the first M777s being delivered to the Indian Army. It is a product of our long-standing business partnership with the BAE Systems. In this program, each of the M777 Howitzers have value addition from Mahindra Defence. I believe that this is the first step towards Make-in-India with much bigger programs to follow."
Joe Senftle, the vice president and general manager of BAE Systems' weapon systems business termed M777 as an "extremely reliable and battle-proven artillery unit."
"The Indian Army is receiving an extremely reliable and battle-proven artillery platform. The M777 brings a new level of capability to the artillery unit by offering rapid deployment and extreme accuracy. It can operate in areas that are difficult to access and is also very easy to maintain," Senftle said.
On Friday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman dedicated three M777 Howitzers, ten K9 Vajra Self Propelled Guns and field artillery tractors to the Indian Army at a ceremony held at Devlali Field Firing Ranges.
The M777 Howitzers, which fire 155 mm calibre shells up to a maximum range of 30 kilometres, have been procured from the USA under Government to Government Foreign Military Sales and assembled in India by BAE Systems in partnership with Mahindra Defence. Indian Army will get a total of 145 M777 Howitzers including the three inducted on Friday. Out of these 145, India is getting 25 from the US while 120 will be assembled in India with the assistance from the BAE Systems.
The K9 Vajra is a South Korean-made self-propelled howitzer, which also fires 155 mm calibre shells up to 30 kilometres. 10 K9 Vajra units have been acquired, with a further 90 to be assembled in India by L and T.
This was the first procurement of field artillery guns in over 30 years, since the controversial Bofors deal in the 1980s.