Weapons: M-777 Artillery Howitzer
The M777 howitzer is a towed 155 mm artillery piece used by the United States Marine Corps and the Army. The M-777 is lighter than the M-198 155mm howitzer it replaced, and made it's combat debut in Afghanistan in 2009.
Weight: 7,500 lbs,
Barrel Length: 16.5'
Length: combat: 35', travel-ready: 31',
Gun Crew: 6 plus 1 (USMC), 9 plus 1 (US Army),
Effective Range: 24-40km (15-25 miles), depending on the round being fired
The M-777 fires a variety of rounds, dependent to the mission required. The M107 is the standard 155mm artillery round fired by the U.S. Marines and U.S. Army, and is a high explosive round that detonates as an airburst or on ground contact. The newest weapon in the American artillery arsenal is the M982 Excalibur round, a 155 mm extended-range guided artillery shell. It is a GPS-guided munition capable of being used in close support situations as it has an accuracy of plus-minus 20'.
The M-777 weights 60% less than the M-198 howitzer it replaced, enabling it to be used more aggressively. The M-777 can be air-lifted by V-22 Osprey's for a surprise insertion to shell enemy positions unreachable by truck. In Helmand Province, Afghanistan, the U.S. Marines would airlift 2-howitzer sections throughout the province in order to attack Taliban troops on a short-notice basis.
The M-777 is used internationally
Australia, Canada, and Saudi Arabia also field the M-777, with the Canadians having successfully used theirs in combat in Afghanistan. The Indian Army has also ordered M-777's to replace their aging M-198 howitzers, however have not yet taken delivery of them.
The M-777 is the most modern artillery piece used today. A computer-guided targeting system gives it an accuracy required to minimize civilian casualties while it's light weight allows the howitzers to be used offensively effectively.