Australian Government announced it is sending six M777 155mm light towed howitzers plus associated ammunition to aid Ukraine’s military as it fights Russian invaders. The donation was in response to requests from the US and Ukraine. The M777 howitzers, which entered Australian Army service in 2010, were loaded onto a C-17A Globemaster III aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland on April 26 for their delivery to Ukraine. The six M777 155mm lightweight towed howitzers and howitzer ammunition will be sent to Europe following a request by the United States and the Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia to provide heavy artillery weapons and ammunition to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The Australian Army owns 54 M777 towed howitzers, but the Royal Australian Artillery will soon be fortified by more capable AS9 Huntsman 155mm self-propelled howitzers via Hanwha Defense. Australia is sending the howitzers to Ukraine after previously providing 20 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles, including 14 protected weapons systems, anti-armor weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. Other military equipment, combat rations, medical supplies, and financial contributions to NATO’s trust fund for the Ukraine are also part of Australia’s assistance for Ukraine, which is now worth A$225 million.
“The Australian government will continue to identify opportunities for further military assistance where it is able to provide a required capability to the Ukraine Armed Forces expeditiously. The Australian government reiterates our strongest support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the people of Ukraine. Australia stands with the people of Ukraine, and again calls on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said.
The M777 howitzer is a towed 155 mm artillery piece. It is used by the ground forces of Australia, Canada, India, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and the United States. In 2008, the Australian Defence Force made a US Foreign Military Sales request for 57 M777A2s worth an estimated US$248m. Subsequently, 35 guns were purchased for the Australian Army. To re-equip the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, the 4th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, and the 8th/12th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, to replace 155 mm M198s and 105 mm L119 Light Guns. An additional 19 guns will be bought directly from American production lines to enable a total of six batteries. Concurrently, the Australian Army has acquired guided 155 mm munitions in the form of the M982 Excalibur and XM1156 Precision Guidance Kit.