Artillery: November 14, 2000


General Dynamics has been selected to develop the Towed Artillery Digitization (TAD) system for the XM777 lightweight 155mm towed howitzer, which is a joint Army-Marine weapon. Assuming that the system is selected for production, General Dynamics would receive about $200 million. The Army plans to buy 273 howitzers for use by airborne and light infantry units. The Marines plan to buy 413 howitzers and use it as their primary artillery support weapon. The Army is paying the $31 million cost of developing TAD; production units will be paid for by each user. The Marines will start buying the howitzers in FY2003 but won't get TAD systems until FY2005. The Army won't buy howitzers until FY2005 when the TAD system is available. The Army considered buying the guns before TAD is available to use them in the new Medium Brigades, but decided that it could not afford to speed up production. TAD is a digital fire control system with on-board navigation. Guns fitted with TAD can be put into firing position in three minutes and moved in two minutes. This is less than half of the time needed to operate the current M198 towed 155mm howitzer. Italy and Britain plan to buy the XM777 howitzer, and are interested in reviewing the TAD technology.--Stephen V Cole




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