India to buy M777 light artillery
The Indian Ministry of Defense has issued a Letter of Request to the US Government for the procurement of 145 pieces of light artillery. The howitzers, manufactured by BAE Systems, are to be purchased through a government-to-government Foreign Military Sale (FMS).
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) had issued a notification to the US Congress on January 22, 2010, for the possible sale of these artillery pieces to India for an approximate amount of USD 647 million. The DSCA statement that followed, noted the sale to include ‘possible sale of 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers with Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems (LINAPS), warranty, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representatives’ technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.’
Significantly, the proposed sale did not originally envisage any offset requirements, as evidenced by the DSCA statement noting, ‘There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.’
But StratPost has learned that in the last few months, the US Government has agreed to the Indian demand for compliance with the 30 percent offset requirement stipulated by the Indian Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP).
The DSCA statement listed the principal contractors to be BAE of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Watervliet Arsenal of Watervliet, New York; Seiler Instrument Company of St Louis, Missouri; Triumph Actuation Systems of Bloomfield, Connecticut; Taylor Devices of North Tonawanda, New York; Hutchinson Industries of Trenton, New Jersey; and Selex, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Interestingly, India is now on track to get the complete pair shown in this picture, with the defense ministry also having marked the Boeing Chinook as the lowest, technically qualified bid, L1, over the Russian Mi-26, for the Indian Air Force (IAF) procurement of 15 heavy lift helicopters. StratPost understands there was much surprise at the opening of the bids as Boeing appeared to have scored over the Russian bid on both life cycle cost as well as fly-away cost.
But India also has other aircraft that can transport the howitzer, including the C-130J Super Hercules, the IL-76 and the soon to be acquired, C-17 Globemaster III.