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FMS Notices

Canadian Forces Procurement –  US FMS Notice –  Field Artillery  –  June 2008

37  Additional  155mm  M777  Light-Weight  Towed  Howitzers
US Foreign Military Sale  Notice  —  A Proposed Sale to Canada

The 155mm M777 towed  howitzer was ordered  for the CF as part of the November 2005  IOR (Immediate Operational Requirement) purchases. The first of the new guns arrived in Afghanistan in February 2006.  By 20 February, the first shots had been fired  (at Gumbad, 60km NE of  Kandahar). The initial six howitzers were bought  from the US  Marine Corps (in a government-to-government sale). Late in 2006, DND confirmed filling an option with BAE Systems for six more M777s. Then it was announced that a "Light Weight Towed Howitzer" contest would result in 34  further guns.

In January 2008, the government publish- ed a Letters of  Interest Notice for LWTH. No one  seriously expected  any outcome other than an order for additional  M777s. As a result, the 17 June 2008 FMS Notice comes as no surprise either. However, the number of howitzers in this proposed sale is slightly higher  than the LOI  required – 37 versus 34.  This should  be considered a testment  to CF regard  for the M777. [1]

Canadian gunners will be pleased to hear of this FMS but an actual order is still some time off. According to the LOI Notice, Statements of  Interest and Qualification are to be received by the end of 2008, the Request for Proposals complete in early 2009, and a contract awarded for the new howitzers sometime in the autumn of 2009.
[1]  In March 2008, the new M982 Excalibur precision-guided projectiles were cleared for use in Afghanistan. These GPS-guided  rounds caught the media's attention being both highly accurate and extremely expensive.  However,  that rather missed  the point. Thanks to a Digital Gun Management System, the M777 is already very accurate using conventional, unguided shells.  Thousands of  155mm rounds  –  mostly unguided HE (high explosive) and illumination – have been fired  by RCHA gunners in Afghanistan.
The text of the FMS notice  (as published by the US DSCA)  is reproduced below:
______________________________________________

  Defense Security Cooperation Agency
  NEWS RELEASE
  On the web: http://www.dsca.mil
  Media/Public Contact: (703) 601-3670
  Date: 17 June 2008

______________________________________________

Transmittal No. 08-68

Canada  —  M777  155mm  Light-Weight  Towed  Howitzers

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2008  –  The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Canada of  M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed  Howitzers as well as associated equipment and services. The total value,  if all options are exercised, could be as high as [US] $114 million  [or  $115.69M  Canadian].

The Government of  Canada has requested a possible sale of  [an additional] 37  M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers, spare and repair parts, support and test equip- ment, publications and technical documentation, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and  contractor representatives' technical assist- ance, engineering and logistics support services, and  other related elements of  logist- ics support. The estimated cost is [US] $114 million.

This proposed sale will contribute  to the  foreign policy  and  national security object- ives of  the  United States  by  improving  the  military  capabilities of  Canada  and  the Canadian military’s interoperability with U.S. forces. Canadian deployments in support of  peacekeeping and humanitarian operations have enhanced global political and eco- nomic stability and  have served  U.S. national security interests.

This proposed sale would greatly contribute to Canada's military capability by making [the Canadian Forces] a more sustainable coalition force to support the Global War on Terror.  Canada currently operates the M777  lightweight howitzers and  will  use these [37] new howitzers to protect its deployed  troops, and give them the ability to operate in hazardous conditions.  Canada will  have no difficulty absorbing  the howitzers  into its armed forces.

The proposed  sale of  this equipment  and  support  will  not  affect  the basic military balance in the region [ie: in North America].

The prime contractors will  be [ BAE Systems Land Systems Weapons & Vehicles ]  in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and  Howmet Castings, Alcoa Business [ Alcoa Howmet ] in Whitehall,  Michigan.  There are no known offset agreements proposed  in connection with this potential sale.

The proposed  sale requires engineering technical support  for approximately  two U.S. government representatives and  five contractor representatives  for one year.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale  is required  by  law;  it does not  mean that  the sale  has been  concluded.


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