US Marines Heavy Artillery Fire M777 155mm Howitzers in Action

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US Marines Heavy Artillery Fire M777 155mm Howitzers in Action

US Marines conduct fire M777 Howitzers during a live-fire exercise on training fields.

The M777 howitzer is a towed 155mm artillery piece, since 2005 successor to the M198 howitzer in the United States Marine Corps and United States Army. The M777 is also used by the ground forces of Canada and Australia. It made its combat début in the War in Afghanistan.

The M777 is smaller and 42% lighter, at under 4,100 kg (9,000 lb), than the M198 it replaces. Most of the weight reduction is due to the use of titanium. The lighter weight and smaller size allows the M777 to be transported by the MV-22 Osprey, CH-47 helicopter or trucks with ease to provide increased mobility and more compact storage over the M198. The minimal gun crew required is five, compared to a previous nine.

The M777 uses a digital fire-control system similar to that found on self-propelled howitzers such as the M109A6 Paladin to provide navigation, pointing and self-location, allowing it to be put into action quickly. The Canadian M777 in conjunction with the traditional "glass and iron sights/mounts" also uses a digital fire control system called the Digital Gun Management System (DGMS) produced by SELEX with components of the Indirect Fire Control Software Suite (IFCSS) built by the Firepower team in the Canadian Army Land Software Engineering Centre.The SELEX portion of the system, known as LINAPS, had been proven previously through earlier fielding on the British Army Royal Artillery’s L118 Light Gun.

• M777 – gun with optical fire control
• M777A1 – digitisation upgrades with the addition of an on-board power source, satellite global positioning, inertial navigation, radio, Gun Display Unit (GDU) and Section Chief Assembly (SCA).
• M777A2 – Block 1A software upgrade. Addition of an Enhanced Portable Inductive Artillery Fuze Setter (EPIAFS) to enable Excalibur and precision munition compatibility.
• M777ER – Experimental upgrade created by the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) project modified with a 52-caliber barrel, adding 6 ft (1.8 m) to the cannon and less than 1,000 pounds (450 kg) to the overall system, extending range from 30 to 70 km (19 to 43 mi); concept only.

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