The US Army’s Watervliet Arsenal has commenced work on a contract to produce 145 howitzer cannon system units for the Indian Army.
Announced in January last year, the $50m foreign military sales contract is claimed to be Arsenal’s largest sales contract signed in nearly 30 years.
Under the deal, the facility will develop M776 155mm barrels and associated parts for BAE Systems’ M777A2 lightweight howitzer.
Watervliet Arsenal programme manager for the order George Roach said: “To now seeing the first parts come off of the production line, especially after having worked on this contract for the last seven years, gives me a tremendous sense of pride.
“But having been in this line of work for many years, I know that this is just a start, as we will soon begin work on the larger and more difficult components of the order.”
While the howitzer components will be shipped beginning this fiscal year, the cannon barrels will be delivered by the fiscal year 2019.
The M777 howitzer has also been selected for use by US, Canadian and Australian forces. The easy to transport weapon has an unassisted maximum range of 24.7km and maximum assisted range of more than 30km.
The Arsenal is a subordinate command to the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and the US Army Materiel Command. It is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the country, having commenced operations in 1812.