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After 31 years, army gets new artillery guns

New Delhi, May 19: The Indian Army, as part of a deal struck with the US government to buy 145 M777 howitzers, received two artillery guns on Thursday.
These howitzers are the first artillery guns to be inducted into the army after it bought them from the Swedish company Bofors 31 years ago.
The M777 ultra-light howitzers, which arrived in Delhi on Thurday, will be transported by road to the army’s firing range in Pokhran in Rajasthan.
In December 2016, India had signed a deal of about Rs 4,700 crore with the US to purchase 145 M777 howitzers from BAE Systems in a government-to-government contract.
The guns will be used to prepare a “range table”, the list of the calibrations and elevations to which the guns must be set to strike a target at a particular distance, sources told DH.
While 25 guns will be imported in the next two years, the rest will be assembled at a factory at Faridabad that Mahindra set up in partnership with BAE Systems. The entire order will be executed in 54 months.
At half the weight of 155 mm towed howitzers, the ultra-light howitzers have a range of 30 km and can provide rapid reaction capability to the Indian army.
Since the M777 can be carried by Chinook helicopters — which India will be buying from the US, too — they can be moved quickly to areas close to the border.
It can also be carried by the C-17 Globemaster and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft and on trucks, providing easy mobility in the mountains.
“The skyrocketing price of these guns is due to the usage of Titanium, which is currently unavailable in India.
It is the use of Titanium that makes the weapons light-weight,” said Lt Gen (retd) V K Chaturvedi, who had played a key role in initiating the artillery modernisation programme of the Indian Army.