Sunday, October 25, 2009

Australia To Buy BAE Howitzers



By ANDREW CHUTER

The Australian government will purchase 35 lightweight towed 155mm howitzers as the first element of a program to re-equip the Army with new artillery.Defence Minister John Faulkner said in a statement that the Army will acquire four batteries of BAE System's M777A2 howitzers as part of a $493 million artillery replacement project known as Land 17. Purchase of an associated digital terminal control system for the howitzer will be considered by the Australian government in the second half of next year, he said.

The M777 is used by U.S. and Canadian forces. To date, BAE has received orders for 862 of the Chinook helicopter-transportable weapons. Six hundred have been delivered.Faulkner said the second phase of the artillery enhancement package will include procurement of a self-propelled artillery system that will be capable of providing fire support to highly mobile mechanized forces.

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