The Indian Army will conduct field trials of the US M-777 ultra-light howitzer next week before moving towards inducting its first modern 155 artillery gun system.

Two howitzers will be evaluated at Pokhran Field firing ranges in November-December and then in high-altitude areas in Sikkim in December-January, according to Times of India.

The all-weather 155mm / 39-calibre howitzers, with laser inertial artillery pointing systems and a 30km range, will arm five regiments.

India has plans to buy 145 of these howitzers from the US in a direct government-to-government deal worth $647m under the foreign military sales (FMS) programme, depending on the trials.

The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified the Congress of the possible sale of the M-777 howitzers to India in January 2010.

India has not inducted a single 155mm artillery gun since the infamous 1986 Bofors scandal.