The UK-based firm, BAE Systems, is all set to reboot the production of the M777 towed howitzer for the US Army, in response to a high demand within the United States. This move comes notably due to the need for filling in the gaps caused by units donated to the Ukrainian army. BAE Systems had previously started to taper off the production of the M777.
Reviving the Production of M777
It has been reported that the Pentagon has inked a deal with BAE Systems to recommence the creation of titanium structures for the M777. The initial funding amount settled upon is million. This agreement falls under an undefined contractual action (UCA), permitting the manufacturer to embark on the production work while the final contractual terms are being finalised.
Production Base and First Deliveries
The manufacturing process will be conducted in both the UK and US, with the first few units scheduled to be delivered in 2025. The subsequent years are expected to witness an upsurge in contracts, owing to a burgeoning interest in the M777 across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Economies of Scale and Other Benefits
Restarting the production in the UK is projected to yield economies of scale. This move is also poised to furnish benefits of an active production line to new and existing users.
Deployment of Howitzers in Ukraine
The decision to revive the M777 production comes at a pivotal time when howitzers are being deployed in Ukraine. The US, Canada, and Australia have collectively donated M777s to the Ukrainian army. Reports suggest that the howitzers are functioning effectively.
Advancements in M777 Technology
The M777, which superseded the M198 in the US Army and US Marine Corps since 2005, continues to be at the vanguard of technological advancements. This can be attributed to the creation of new long-range guided munitions. The M777, while weighing half as much as its forerunner, first made its combat debut in Afghanistan. The operational range of the M777 fluctuates in accordance with the shell used: 21 km (with M107), 23.5 km (with M795), 30 km (with 795E1), and nearly 40 km with Excalibur.