The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSAC) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of M777 155mm lightweight towed howitzers and associated equipment to India.
Under the estimated $885m sale, India has requested a total of 145 M777 155mm lightweight towed howitzers with laser inertial artillery pointing systems (LINAPS), warranty, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, as well as engineering and logistics support services and other related elements of logistics support.
The howitzers are expected to be used by India for the modernisation of its armed forces and also to augment its ability to operate in hazardous conditions.
The potential sale also directly contributes to US foreign policy and national security by strengthening the US-India strategic relationship and enhancing the security of an important partner that continues to serve as a vital source for political stability, peace and economic progress in South Asia.
BAE Systems, Watervliet Arsenal, Seiler Instrument Company, Triumph Actuation Systems, Taylor Devices, Selex, as well as Hutchinson Industries will serve as prime contractors for the FMS programme.
Additionally, the vendors are expected to negotiate an offset contract with the Indian government in accordance with the Indian Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP).
The M777 howitzer acquisition was cleared by the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in May 2012 following comprehensive evaluation.
Manufactured by BAE Land Systems, M777 is an advanced self-propelled artillery system, designed to deliver up to five rounds in one minute at ranges of 24.7km with unassisted rounds and 30km with rocket-assisted rounds.
The howitzers have been used by the US Army, Marine Corps and Nato forces to conduct operations in Afghanistan since February 2006.
Image: The howitzers will be used to modernise India's armed forces and enhance their ability to operate in hazardous conditions. Photo courtesy of Sgt Jose E Guillen.