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UK-based defence company BAE Systems has proposed an upgraded 52-calibre barrel for the Indian Army’s 145 units of the 155mm/39-calibre M777 ultra-lightweight gun system. The company intends to manufacture the new barrel locally in India and provide a specialized kit that will enhance the gun’s range to 40km.

BAE Systems is currently in discussions with an Indian private sector company that will be responsible for carrying out these upgrades, as well as providing spares and logistical support for the gun. The company is keen on developing the upgraded 52-calibre barrel for the M777 ER (Extended Range) in India, with the possibility of exporting it to other countries interested in similar upgrades.

The 155mm/39-calibre M777 howitzer, which was acquired by the Indian Army for mountainous terrains, will benefit from the 52-calibre barrel upgrade. This enhancement not only increases the standoff range of the gun but also ensures better protection against loitering munitions, as observed during the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

In addition to BAE Systems’ proposal, the Kalyani Group’s Indian-developed 155mm/52-calibre ultra-lightweight gun system is also being considered for supplying additional guns in this segment. With increased border tensions with China over the past three years, there is a growing demand for advanced artillery systems to strengthen India’s defence capabilities.

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