M777 Howitzers: Ukraine ‘Refuses’ Help To Fix Damaged Artillery; Shares Video Of Repairing Themselves

In a move aimed at bolstering its artillery capabilities, the Logistics Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have commenced the repair of M777 155mm towed howitzers.

This major development was announced by the Command of the Logistics Forces. Repair specialists leading the restoration efforts are utilizing cutting-edge technologies, including titanium surface welding, to address damage in the artillery systems.

The Ukrainian military also released a video showcasing maintainers conducting repair work on the howitzers, clearly demonstrating the complex tasks involved in servicing these weapon systems.

The focus on acquiring the capability to carry out restoration initiatives underscores the strategic importance placed on maintaining the M777 155mm towed howitzers, which have played a major role on the battlefield.

However, despite the announcement of progress in the repairing process, the Ukrainian authorities have remained tight-lipped regarding specific details. Information regarding the location of the repair activities and the number of howitzers already restored has not been disclosed to the public.

Prior to this announcement, there had been very little information on the Ukrainian Armed Forces engaging in the repair of the M777 howitzers.

Within two months of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine received its first shipment of M777 howitzers. These artillery systems, with a range of up to 30 kilometers, were quickly appreciated by the Ukrainian soldiers.

They praised the accuracy and efficiency of the weapon system in annihilating enemy targets at formidable distances.

Despite their appreciation, the M777 howitzers posed a major challenge for Ukrainian troops regarding maintenance and repair, as they lacked the necessary expertise. In early 2023, it was reported that the US Army was assisting Ukraine through online consultations.

US military started remote maintenance support, where Army maintainers virtually demonstrated to their Ukrainian counterparts how to manage and care for the weapon system.

Ukrainian troops were hesitant to send their weapons abroad for repairs, opting instead to manage maintenance themselves. This approach spared them from the lengthy process of shipping the weapon systems out of the country for servicing.

However, as the conflict persisted for almost two years, Ukraine, with support from its allies, commenced efforts to establish self-reliant capabilities for conducting repair work on a variety of weapon systems domestically.

M777 Howitzers

The M777 howitzer, a 155mm artillery piece capable of firing up to five rounds per minute, boasts a range of 24 to 30 kilometers, depending on the projectile utilized.

This class of mobile, long-range guns has demonstrated significant effectiveness in combat against Russian forces, alongside Germany’s Panzerhaubitze 2000 and France’s Caesar howitzer, both of which have also seen deployment in Ukraine.

Weighing half as much as other mobile howitzers, it offers troops enhanced mobility, facilitating quick repositioning to avoid enemy detection—a crucial survival strategy in the Ukrainian theater.

According to the manufacturer, the M777 is highly portable via land, sea, and air, boasting a minimal logistical footprint and maximum reliability. This allows for frequent movement and redeployment, enhancing survivability without the risk of encountering improvised explosive devices (IEDs) faced by self-propelled systems.

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Meanwhile, BAE Systems, the manufacturer of the M777, plans to restart production in response to the increasing demand for this artillery piece.

John Borton, Vice President and General Manager of BAE Systems Weapons Systems UK pointed out, “The M777 will remain at the forefront of artillery technology well into the future through the use of technical insertions, long-range precision guided munition developments, and flexible mobility options.”

M777 Howitzers
File Image: M777 Howitzer

The decision to restart production stems from heightened demand for M777 howitzers, utilized by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as the US Army and Marine Corps.

BAE Systems plans to collaborate with suppliers in the UK and the US to manufacture the main titanium structures of the M777, with initial parts scheduled for delivery in 2025. Currently, the United States stands as the largest operator of the howitzers, with over 1,200 units in service.