Washington– The United States proposed to sell India 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzer field guns to India in a $885 million deal as part of the growing India-U.S. strategic partnership, the U.S. defence department announced.
The U.S. said the sale of these howitzers — guns that are able to fire shells at high trajectories — will not alter the basic military balance in the South Asian region.
The Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified the Congress Aug 2 of a possible Foreign Military Sale India of the howitzers with Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems (LINAPS), and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $885 million.
“India intends to use the howitzers to modernize its armed forces and enhance its ability to operate in hazardous conditions. India will have no difficulty absorbing these weapons into its armed forces,” the mandatory notification said.
The proposed sale at India’s request “will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-India strategic relationship and to improve the security of an important partner which continues to be for political stability, peace and economic progress in South Asia,” the notification said.
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region, the notification said. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defence readiness as a result of this proposed sale, it said.
In accordance with the Indian Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), it is anticipated that the vendor will be required to negotiate an offset contract with the government of India, the notification said.
The deal will include warranty, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services and other related elements of logistics support.
The principal contractors will be BAE of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Watervliet Arsenal of Watervliet, New York; Seiler Instrument Company of St. Louis, Missouri; Triumph Actuation Systems of Bloomfield, Connecticut; Taylor Devices of North Tonawanda, New York; Hutchinson Industries of Trenton, New Jersey; and Selex, Edinburgh, Britain.
The M777 howitzer is a towed 155 mm artillery piece, successor to the M198 howitzer in the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army. The M777 is also used by the ground forces of Canada and Australia. It made its combat debut in the war in Afghanistan.
According to Marine.com, the M777 Lightweight 155mm howitzer provides timely, accurate and continuous firepower in support of Marine Infantry forces.
Seven-tonne trucks are used to move the M777s, enabling marine artillery units to move faster between positions.