According to the information of The New York Times, the Pentagon plans to begin training a group of Ukrainian gunners as instructors for new weapons that the United States, according to plans announced on April 14, is going to hand over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The training will take place in one of the NATO countries on the Ukrainian border. What kind of artillery systems are we talking about?
Among the list of weapons worth $800 million, which was handed over to Ukraine by Pentagon officials on April 14, 2022, including mysterious “coastal defense unmanned vessels” there were also very prosaic but more practical tools for destroying the occupants. For example, 18 howitzers 155 mm caliber and 40,000 shells for them. We know what miracle work does our artillery with old Soviet weapons, then what will these “Gods of war” be able to do with American guns! But the question remains, what kind of guns will the Pentagon hand over to Ukrainian Armed Forces?
Of course, it would be nice to get a 155-mm M109A6 Paladin, but given that training will be only for a small number of gunners of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and there is no extra time to master the weapon, most likely, it is a trailer 155-mm howitzer M777. Do not rush to sigh in frustration, in fact, it is a very cool cannon, especially if among the same 40,000 shells there are several special ones designed specifically for the M109A6 Paladin and M777.
The thing is that both M109A6 Paladin, and M777 use the same digital fire control system, which in addition to improving the accuracy of conventional projectiles allows the use of guided high-precision projectiles M982 Excalibur. Excaliburs have an inertial and GPS navigation system and can be used even at targets near allied units or civilian objects.
M777 howitzer was developed and manufactured by the American division of the British concern BAE Systems. The cannon was developed as an ultralight field howitzer using titanium components. That’s why the M777 is 41% lighter than its M198 predecessor and can be easily transported by helicopter.
This howitzer entered service in 2005 and has since received two upgrades to fire control, navigation, software, and communications. M777 is used by the armies of Australia, Canada, India, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia. But most systems – more than 1,000 howitzers – are in service with the US Army and Marine Corps. They have all been upgraded to M777A2.
M777 can reach the enemy at a distance of 37 km, and using M982 Excalibur shells even to 40 km. A record-breaking M777 shot was fired by US Marines during the war in Afghanistan, hitting targets at a distance of 36 km.
Considering how important long-range artillery in the modern war and the Russian-Ukrainian war is in particular, even the 18 newest digital howitzers M777 will be a very good gift for artillerymen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Have a good hunting, Gods of war!
Mass – 4200 kg
Length – 9.5-10.7 m (travel, combat)
Barrel length – 5.08 m
Crew – 8 (minimum – 5)
Caliber – 155 мmm
Shell – M107, M795, ERFB, M982
Elevation – 0° to +71,7°
Rate of fire – Normal: 2 rpm Maximum: 7 rpm
Muyyle velocity – 827 m/s
Effective firing range – 24-40 кkm (depending on the shell)