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BAE Systems gets $1.5b orders for advanced howitzer.

Company's sales up 1.8% last year for titanium and aluminium alloy M777 considered lighter than conventional 155mm weapons

Abu Dhabi The orderbook of UK-based BAE Systems, a global defence, security and aerospace company, for lightweight 155mm howitzers is about $1.5 billion (Dh5.5 billion), Bob Preedy, head of the company's Artillery Business Development, told Gulf News yesterday.

"We deliver 10 guns every month. We conduct foreign military sales through the US government. So far, we have delivered 760 guns," Preedy said on the sidelines of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex-2011).

Preedy also said the price of one howitzer is approximately $3 million and its customers are primarily the US Army, US Marine Corps, Canada and Australia.

BAE Systems' sales rose 1.8 per cent on year in 2010 to Au22.4 billion.

Later at a news conference, BAE Systems announced that a US order for 46 M777 howitzers takes the number of guns ordered to 1,001. "The order comes as BAE Systems continues deliveries of M777 to Canada and Australia, in addition to the US," the company said.

Weighing less than 4,200 kilograms, the revolutionary M777 is the world's first artillery piece to make widespread use of titanium and aluminium alloys, resulting in a howitzer that is half the weight of conventional 155mm systems. As a result, it can be deployed by medium-lift helicopters quickly and beyond the reach of roadside bombs to otherwise inaccessible areas, extending its reach over the theatre of operations.

Mike Smith, managing director of BAE Systems' Global Combat Systems Weapons business, said in a statement that the M777 has passed every development and operational test in vital areas such as accuracy, consistency, operational flexibility and mobility.

BAE Systems said the success of the M777 in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is reflected in the global interest in the howitzer.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Feb 24, 2011
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