The US Marine Corps demonstrated the M777 155mm lightweight howitzer to local
officials at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Training on the M777 weapon system is being
conducted at Fort Sill by personnel coming from the 3rd battalion, 11th Marine
regiment stationed at Twentynine Palms, California, which is expected to be the
first unit equipped with.
The M777 will be deployed with the US Marine Corps and the Army providing
critical fire support to Marine Air Ground Task Forces and Army Brigade Combat
Teams and light divisions. The M777 incorporates, for the first time, extensive
use of titanium castings and will replace the 155mm M198 howitzer. It is
lightweight, only 9,000-lb (4,000 kg) compared to M198's 15,700-lb (7,000 kg),
to be transported by C-130-sized fixed-wing aircraft or MV-22 tiltrotor.
Overall, titanium castings allow to reduce 7,000-lb (3,000 kg) of weight which
improves mobility and transportability features for the resulting weapon system.
Weapon range performance and ammunition capacity remains unchanged compared to
M198. The weapon will be assembled by BAE Systems at Hattiesburg, Mississippi,
with more than 70 percent components fabricated in the United States.
The M777 program completed operational testing at Twentynine Palms in early
2005, with more than 12,000 rounds fired by four howitzers. The program now
stands ready to receive the first full rate production order anticipated in
February 2005. Fielding of the weapon with the Army and USMC is expected to be
completed by 2009.
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