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27 June 2016

India Clears Path for BAE Systems M777 Lightweight Howitzer

On 25 June the Indian Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of 145 M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers from BAE Systems, in a deal worth an estimated $750 million.

Also approved at the same time was the intention to procure 18 DHANUSH 155mm howitzers (an Indian designed weapon based on the Bofors FH77) and the Navy was cleared to issue calls for tender for six next generation missile vessels.

Under the deal with BAE Systems, which is being concluded through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process, 25 of the howitzers will be delivered from the US and 120 delivered from an Indian assembly and integration facility created in conjunction with Indian defence company Mahindra Group. BAE Systems announced in February it had selected Mahindra to build the integration plant. Offset commitments of up to $200 million will be pursued in a track parallel to the procurement.

The procurement marks the first time the Indian Army has bought artillery systems for almost 30 years, since the Bofors acquisition scandal in 1987.