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The M777 howitzer is a towed 155 mm artillery piece, successor to the M198 howitzer in the United States Marine Corps and United States Army. The M777 is manufactured by BAE Systems' Global Combat Systems division. Prime contract management is based in Barrow-in-Furness in the UK as well as manufacture and assembly of the titanium structures and associated recoil components. Final integration and testing of the weapon is undertaken at BAE's facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. he M777 is smaller and 42% lighter, at under 4,100 kg (9,000 lb), than the M198 it replaces. Most of the weight reduction is due to the use of titanium. The lighter weight and smaller size allows the M777 to be transported by MV-22 Osprey, CH-47 helicopter or truck with ease, so that it can be moved in and out of the battlefield more quickly than the M198. The smaller size also improves storage and transport efficiency in military warehouses and Air/Naval Transport. The gun crew required is an Operational Minimum of five, compared to a previous size of nine. The M777 uses a digital fire-control system similar to that found on self propelled howitzers such as the M109A6 Paladin to provide navigation, pointing and self-location, allowing it to be put into action more quickly than earlier towed and air-transported howitzers. The Canadian M777 in conjunction with the traditional "glass and iron sights/mounts" also uses a digital fire control system called the Digital Gun Management System (DGMS) produced by SELEX with components of the Indirect Fire Control Software Suite (IFCSS) built by the Firepower team in the Canadian Army Land Software Engineering Centre. The SELEX portion of the system, known as LINAPS, had been proven previously through earlier fielding on the British Army Artillery's L118 Light Gun. The M777 is also often combined with the new Excalibur GPS-guided munition, which allows accurate fire at a range of up to 40 km. This almost doubles the area covered by a single battery to about 5,000 km2. Testing at the Yuma Proving Ground by the US Army placed 13 of 14 Excalibur rounds, fired from up to 24 km away, within 10 meters of their target,suggesting a circular error probable of about 5 meters. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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