MARINE CORPS WEAPONS & VEHICLES
HEAVY ANTI-ARMOR WEAPONS
A recent modification to TOW missile incorporates a radio-frequency-guided control capability that eliminates the physical wire link from the launcher to the missile. The suite of
missiles also can be used by the Light Armored Vehicle-Anti-Tank (LAV-AT). The M220A3 TOW 2 System still is being used
by the 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 MORTARS
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 firing 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. 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.
CON TRAC TOR: . . . . . . . . . . BAE Systems
M142 HIGH MOBILITY ARTILLERY
ROCKET SYSTEM (HIMARS)
BRIEFING: HIMARS is a C- 130 transportable, wheeled, indirect
fire (IDF) rocket/missile system capable of firing all current and
future rockets as well as missiles in the Multiple-Launch Rocket
System Family of Munitions. The HIMARS launcher consists of a
fire-control system, carrier (automotive platform) and launcher-loader module that performs all operations necessary to complete a fire mission. The basic system includes one launcher, one
resupply vehicle and two resupply trailers. HIMARS addresses an
identified, critical warfighting deficiency in Marine Corps’ fire
support. HIMARS employs the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket
System to provide precision fires in support of the Marine
Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). HIMARS also is a transformational, general support response, general support reinforcing
M41A4 SABER MISSILE SYSTEM