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India to buy M777 howitzers from US
In a major decision aimed at giving a boost to the armed forces, the government on Friday approved the deal to buy M-777 ultra light howitzers from the United States.
The purchase of M777 ultra-light howitzers has been cleared nearly 27 years after the controversy over the purchase of howitzers from Switzerland-based AB Bofors.
As per reports, the government aims at buying at least 145 guns at a total cost of USD 650 million. The purchase of the guns will be reportedly made through the US government's Foreign Military Sales program.
The Ultra-light weight Field Howitzers (UFH), designated M777 in the USA, was selected in 1997 by a joint US Army / Marine Corps initiative to replace the existing inventory of M198 155mm towed howitzers.
The M777 was deployed by the US Army and Marine Corps to Afghanistan in December 2007 and to Iraq in 2008.
In July 2008, Australia requested the foreign military sale of 57 M77 howitzers.
The gun developed by BAE Systems is half the weight of all 155mm howitzers in the world but matches their fire power making it a deadly weapon in the hands of good artillery unit.
The maximum firing range of the gun is 24.7km with unassisted rounds and 30km with rocket-assisted rounds. After procurement, the M777 will be deployed in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
The M777, which can be easily transported through a helicopter, can fire up to five rounds a minute