With the Defense Department’s recent order for 46 additional M777 howitzers, BAE Systems announced DoD and the U.K.-based defense industry giant’s other international customers had purchased a total of 1,001 guns from the firm.
In terms of artillery pieces, M777 is rather dainty. That’s because it’s the first such weapon to make widespread use of titanium and aluminum alloys, which makes it — at 4,200 kg –half the weight of traditional guns. As a result, the howitzer can be deployed by medium-lift helicopters, the firm said, and allows it to reach into previously inaccessible areas.
“Being sling-loaded under helicopters and air-dropped in some of the most demanding operational conditions on the planet,” has proven the M777 capable, said Mike Smith, managing director of BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems Weapons business.
“These additional orders serve to reinforce the confidence that our customers have in the system and its support,” he added.
In addition to its tests in the field, Smith said the M777 has also passed all the development and operational tests.
“There is no other modern howitzer which has been subjected to such rigorous examination or been engaged in such unrelenting operational usage and regular deployment by airborne assets,” he said.
While they are manufactured in the U.K., the final integration and test of the weapon systems are undertaken in the firms’ Hattiesburg, Miss., location.