HATTIESBURG — The U.S. Department of Defense has ordered 70 BAE Systems lightweight M777 howitzers to begin equipping the U.S. Army’s Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs).
Valued at $134 million, the order takes the U.S.-UK production program to Oct. 2013 and a total of 1,071 guns.
The M777 is the world’s first artillery weapon to make widespread use of titanium and aluminum alloys, resulting in a howitzer that is half the weight of conventional towed 155mm systems. As a result, it can be deployed by medium-lift helicopters quickly and beyond the reach of roadside bombs to otherwise inaccessible areas, extending its reach over the theater of operations.
BAE Systems’ facility at Hattiesburg is responsible for final integration and testing of the weapon system. The prime contract management of the M777 program and manufacture and assembly of the complex titanium structures and associated recoil components are undertaken at Barrow-in-Furness in the United Kingdom.