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BAE Unveils Self-Propelled M777 Howitzer (Sep 14)

A new transport concept for the revolutionary BAE Systems M777 155mm howitzer, now in full rate production for the US Marine Corps and US Army, is being showcased at DSEi.

Developed in response to a specific UK MoD requirement (LIMAWS (G)) the M777 Portee system combines the ground breaking strengths of the world’s lightest 155mm howitzer with a purpose built vehicle developed by Supacat.

The integrated system has been extensively evaluated by the UK MoD as part of the LIMAWS (G) assessment phase, during which both tactical and strategic mobility were assessed and over 350 rounds fired in test conditions.

Nick Wilson, head of business development Indirect Fire Systems says, “M777 performed well throughout the evaluation period demonstrating a unique combination of firepower and mobility with the potential to make a significant contribution to the MoD’s medium weight capability requirements.”

The 8x6 Portee System is a new vehicle design utilising suspension technology developed for Supacat's highly successful High Mobility Truck (HMT) 'family’. These vehicles are now entering service in 2-axle and 3-axle form with both the UK and US armed forces. They offer a significant improvement in mobility over other wheeled military vehicles. The HMT suspension system makes the Portee ideally suited to operation over difficult and demanding terrain.

This ‘Portee’ vehicle has the capability to transport the howitzer onto C-130 aircraft, amphibious craft as well as move as a compact system for longer road or cross country journeys. On reaching the combat area the howitzer is quickly dismounted, allowing it to be towed rapidly into and out of action and up to 3 ammunition containers can be carried in its place allowing a total of over 70 readily available rounds.

The HMT has been selected as the universal platform for a number of roles in the British Army, including mobile communications Ground Station, EW Ground Station, UAV Ground Station, lightweight mobile artillery platform (rocket) and for other specialized applications.

The M777 is the world’s first 155mm howitzer weighing less than 10000lbs (4218kg) achieved through innovative design and the use of titanium and aluminium alloys. It is designed specifically to meet the growing requirement for flexible and accurate artillery fire support being capable of rapid re-deployment by battlefield helicopters and of being towed by lightweight limber or utility vehicles. M777 is fully developed and in production and the first 2 US Marine Corps units to be equipped have taken delivery to achieve an initial operational capability (IOC) early in the New Year.

Over $US 100 million has been invested in the development of the M777, which has been monitored and audited by US authorities, passing each stage with full acceptance. It is the most reliable and risk-free howitzer available today.

Equipped with a fully integrated digital fire control system the howitzer can be brought into action in less than one minute, and moved to an alternative firing position in less than three minutes.

The speed of movement, deployability, rapid into and out of action times and overall manoeuvrability around the battlefield makes the howitzer 70% more effective than its predecessor in terms of rounds fired and target effect, and also offers enhanced survivability.

The M777 is designed to fire the most modern types of ammunition currently in production and development including the XM982 ‘Excalibur’ precision round, allowing it to achieve high levels of accuracy with targets over 40km away. In conjunction with such ammunition, M777 is the most developed, tested, safe and reliable gun and weapon combination available to allies.

Over 600 systems will be supplied to the US Marine Corps, the US Army and National Guard.

BAE Systems has major operations across five continents and customers in some 130 countries. The Company employs over 90,000 people and generates annual sales of approximately £14.8 billion through its wholly owned and joint-venture operations.

M777 Concept Demonstrator Showcased at DSEI