January 31, 2010:
India is joining the United States, Canada and Australia in using the M-777 towed 155mm howitzer. India has asked the United States to sell them 145 of the lightweight M-777 howitzers, for about $4.5 million each. India is particularly attracted by the fact that the M-777 can be moved slung under a helicopter, and quickly moved to inaccessible areas.
The M-777 is a British design and, at four tons, is the lightest 155mm towed howitzer ever fielded. M-777 Fire control is handled by computerized system that allows faster response time and more accurate shooting. The M777 can use all current 155mm ammunition, including the Swedish/American GPS guided Excalibur shell. The guided round cuts ammo use enormously. India uses a similar Russian guided shell called Krasnopol. The helicopter is the preferred method of moving the M-777 across rough terrain. An M-777 on a mountain top, with a few dozen Excalibur or Krasnopol rounds, provides precision fire support for troops within a 30-40 kilometer radius. Indian land borders are largely mountainous, and difficult to reach by land routes, especially for artillery that could not be flown in. The M-777 changes that.