Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: M777, M777A1, M777E1 and XM777
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: M777
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2005
Total Production: 1,240
Total Cost: USD$910 million
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Description: The XM777 Joint Lightweight 155mm 39 calibers (LW155) howitzer has been designed to replace current M198 towed howitzers. The US Army will use the XM777 for general support purposes within light forces, while the USMC will use this weapon for direct support replacing all existing cannon types within the Corps.
The XM777 incorporates innovate designs to achieve the lightweight goal, without sacrificing the range, stability, accuracy or durability of the planned system. It will provide excellent tactical mobility, deployment capability and survivability. Excalibur 155mm artillery projectiles will provide extended range and improved accuracy.
Once fielded, the XM777 will be designated the M777A1. The M777A2, the following upgrade, will feature further software enhancements. BAe Systems is already working in a self-propelled howitzer based on the proven XM777.
The US Army and the USMC needed approximately 650 XM777s, 273 and 377 respectively. The first USMC XM777-equipped unit will achieve initial operational capability in 2004. Italy and the United Kingdom might become the first foreign customers of the XM777 towed howitzer, according to some reports.
BAE Systems was awarded a $834 million contract for the full rate production of the M777A1 howitzer on March 24, 2005. Under this contract BAE will manufacture 495 howitzers to be delivered to the US Army Stryker Interim Brigades and the US Marine Corps Air Ground Task Forces from 2005 until 2009.
In December 2005 the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) took delivery of four of six M777 howitzers bought to the United States Marine Corps through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Canadian Army's 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery was expected to deploy its newest M777 to Afghanistan in support of operation Archer shortly. The M777 howitzer entered service in early 2006 in Afghanistan with the Canadian Forces.
On April 6, 2006 the United States Marine Corps awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to manufacture Lightweight Prime Mover (LWPM) trucks to tow the M777 155mm howitzer. The contract was valued at $2.1 million for four vehicles. Under this Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract the USMC has the option to award a full production contract (FRP) for 120 LM4x4 vehicles valued at $30 million. LM4x4 is a 9,000-pound truck that can be transported by C-130 airplanes, CH-47 or CH-53 helicopters or the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft.
The M777A2 is an improved version incorporating a software update that enables the howitzer to program and fire the M982 Excalibur Guided Projectile at ranges of 40 km with a Circular Error Probable of 10 meters. The M777A2 howitzer was cleared for service in July 2007.
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