MARINE CORPS WEAPONS & VEHICLES
HEAVY ANTI-ARMOR WEAPONS
LAV-AT community and currently is under review to be replaced
by the Modified Improved Target Acquisition Systems.
CONTRACTOR: ...........Raytheon Missile Systems
ARTILLERY SYSTEMS AND
M777 LIGHTWEIGHT 155MM HOWITZER
BRIEFING: The M777 is a joint Marine Corps-Army program to
develop, produce and field a towed 155mm howitzer that provides increased mobility, survivability, deployability and sustainability in expeditionary operations throughout the world. The
M777A2 is a direct- and general-support artillery system that is
replacing the M198 155mm medium towed howitzer in both
services. It has incorporated innovative design technologies to
overcome deficiencies inherent in the M198.
The M777 is the first ground combat system whose major
structures are made of high-strength titanium alloy and the system makes extensive use of hydraulics to operate the breech,
load tray, recoil and wheel arms. The combination of titanium
structures resulted in a weight savings of more than 7,000
pounds from the M198 system. Compared with the M198, the
M777 emplaces three times faster and displaces four times
faster. It traverses 32 percent more terrain worldwide and is 70
percent more survivable than the M198.
The basic M777 howitzer was developed utilizing conventional
optical fire control to locate and aim the weapon. The M777A1
integrated a Digital Fire Control System (DFCS). The DFCS uses
the Global Positioning System, an inertial navigation unit and a
vehicle motion sensor to accurately locate and orient the weapon
to deliver greater accuracy and responsiveness. The system integrates radios for voice and digital communications and a chief-of-section display that can be mounted into the cab of the prime
mover for use as a navigation aid during towing. The system’s mission computer processes fire missions and outputs pointing information to onboard gunners and chief-of-section displays.
The introduction of the M777A2 included a precision strike
capability by incorporating hardware and software modifications to
allow for the firing of the M982 Excalibur projectile and the M1156
Precision Guided Kit. A planned software upgrade that supports
onboard ballistic computations was released in 2015 and currently
is being fielded. The M777A2 provides significant improvements in
displacement and emplacement, capable of being emplaced in less
than three minutes and displaced in two to three minutes. The
M777A2 is towed by the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement and
can be airlifted by the CH-53E/K, CH-47D helicopters and the MV-
22B Osprey tiltrotor into remote high-altitude locations.
A primer feed mechanism supports firing a maximum of four
rounds per minute, with sustained firing of two rounds per minute.
The M777A2 is capable of firing unassisted high-explosive projectiles using conventional and modular propellants to a range of 15
miles and rocket-assisted projectiles to approximately 19 miles.
The M777A2 can fire the precision-guided Excalibur munitions up to 24 miles with sufficient accuracy, reducing the
chance of noncombatant casualties and enabling supporting fire
to be delivered much closer to friendly troops. The M777A2
achieved an operational availability greater than 90 percent supporting Operation Enduring Freedom for Marine Corps, Army
and Canadian forces.
The M777 has been in service since 2005. An electronics
refresh/modernization program of the aging DFCS components
commenced retrofits in 2015. This program will replace the
majority of the electronics on the M777A2 over the next several
years to address obsolescence issues. The Marine Corps has procured its full approved acquisition objective of 518 M777A2
howitzers, while the Army has purchased 481 systems. The final
U.S.-production howitzer was delivered by BAE Systems in
January 2014. The Canadian Army purchased 37 base-model
M777s under a Foreign Military Sales contract, while the
Australian Army has purchased 54 M777A2s. An M777A2 Life
Cycle Sustainment contract was awarded in April 2013 to BAE
Systems UK to sustain the system through 2023.
HIGH MOBILITY ARTILLERY ROCKET
BRIEFING: The HIMARS provides all-weather, 24-hour, long-range precision fire support, offering commanders a rocket and
missile capability in support of Marine Air-Ground Task Force
(MAGTF) operations ashore. HIMARS (launcher only) is a
C-130-transportable, wheeled rocket/missile system capable of
firing a variety of artillery rockets and munitions. One HIMARS
includes a launcher vehicle, two resupply vehicles, two resupply
trailers and associated munitions. HIMARS typically will be
employed as a battalion or battery depending on the situation.
The acquisition objective is for 57 systems consisting of one
active battalion, one Reserve battalion and supporting establishments. HIMARS reached full operational capability in 2010.
CONTRACTOR: ...........Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control
M224A1 60MM MORTAR
BRIEFING: The M224A1 60mm mortar can be fired from a pit
emplacement or in handheld mode. The mortar is a muzzle-loaded, smooth-bore, high-angle-of-fire weapon that can be
drop fired or trigger fired. The complete mortar in the conven-
M777 LIGHTWEIGHT 155MM HOWITZER