The Indian Army will receive the first BAE Systems M777 lightweight howitzer within six months from today.
This follows from the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for the acquisition of 145 artillery pieces at a cost of USD 750 million that was finally concluded between the governments of India and the U.S., today.
The U.S. government will now place the order with BAE Systems, which also has to conclude the offset contract with the government of India.
25 of the M777 howitzers will be delivered off the shelf and 120 will be assembled at a facility operated by Mahindra & Mahindra at Prithla, Faridabad, India.
In a statement, BAE Systems said, “BAE Systems announced a plan to establish an Assembly, Integration & Testing (AIT) facility in India which will expand our global supply chain and is an integral part of the offset offer to the Government of India.”
The statement quoted vice president & general manager for Weapon Systems at BAE Systems, Dr. Joe Senftle, as saying, “We look forward to providing the Indian Army with the combat-proven M777. Our plan to establish a domestic Assembly, Integration and Test facility further demonstrates our commitment to ‘Make in India’ and remains a firm part of our strategy to work with the Indian defense sector across Air, Land, Sea and Security.”
The terms of the LOA require BAE Systems to deliver offsets worth 30 percent of the value of the order and Mahindra & Mahindra is one of the Indian Offset Partners (IOP) for the order.
BAE Systems also said, “The offset offer commits to investing in, and the development of, a number of Indian defense suppliers, providing them with access to the BAE Systems group across Air, Land, Sea and Security programs. The conclusion of this procurement will enable BAE Systems to make an investment of over $200 million in those Indian defense suppliers.”
The LOA requires all 145 guns to be delivered within 52 months from today.
The sale of the lightweight howitzers was first approved by the U.S. government in 2010.