First M777 ultra light artillery gun to reach India this weekend

India has struck a government-to-government deal for 145 howitzers with the US at a cost of around $700 million

The first two American-made M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) were delivered to the Indian Army on Thursday.

The ultra light howitzer is being purchased primarily to deploy on mountains in eastern border with China to provide the much-needed fire power to the Indian Army in the region. The guns that arrived today will be used to shore up defences in high-altitude areas against China.

As per the deal, the first 25 guns will be bought directly from the USA and the rest will be assembled in India.

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The BAE Systems sposkesperson explained to IBTimes India that of the 145 howitzers India has ordered, 25 would be made in the U.S., while the rest would be assembled locally, giving a fillip to the "Make in India" push made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India's last acquisition of field guns were made in March 1986 when about 410 pieces of the Swedish made Bofors' FH-77B 155mm/39 calibre howitzer were bought for approximately Rs 1,400 crores.

After the two guns, three more M777 will reach India in the year 2018 (September).

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The Indian army holds a huge set of plans for upgrading artillery formations.

The guns were expected to arrive in the June.

The Bofors guns however have been a mainstay for the Indian Army for decades, and played an important role in the Kargil conflict. It has a maximum range of 30 km. A team of Indian Army led by Lieutenant Colonel has reached Jaisalmer. "As per the contract agreement, firing tables are being prepared by the contracted agency - us government and BAE Systems with support of the Army", the Army said in a statement. BAE Systems is partnering with Mahindra Defence & Aerospace, a part of the Mahindra Group, to do this. Moreover, it can be transported to the battlefield, slung under heavy-lift helicopters like the Chinook, which India has signed to acquire from the US.

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