Indian Army’s weapons modernization program got a major boost today when it test fired the M777 howitzer guns, which have been procured from US-based BAE systems. The tests were done today to mark the anniversary of Pokhran-I, India’s first nuclear weapons test conducted at Pokhran in Rajasthan. Pokhran-I was conducted exactly 43 years ago, a time when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India. The test was conducted with the highest levels of secrecy and nobody knew a thing until the test was completed. It had surprised the international community and displayed India’s scientific and industrial prowess. The testing of M777 howitzer guns was to be conducted in June, but PM Modi decided to conduct the tests on May 18 to coincide with the anniversary of Pokhran-I.
As per the deal with United States, India will get 145 M777 howitzer guns at a cost of Rs 2,900 crore. These guns are of ultra-light howitzers (ULH) quality and have 155mm/39 caliber. Currently, two M777 howitzer guns have been delivered and these are being tested today in Pokhran. Another 25 of these will be delivered by 2021. The rest will be assembled in India by Mahindra Defense. These guns can fire up to a range of 30 km. These have been tweaked to suit Indian conditions. These are a great asset since these can be easily transported to even the most remote and rugged locations.