Britain is to take part in a US development programme for its lightweight 155mm artillery gun, the Ministry of Defence said this week.
The UK’s participation in the US XM177 project will cost under £4m and is intended to allow Britain to make ‘an informed decision’ on the UK’s Lightweight Mobile Artillery Weapons System (Limaws).
Defence procurement minister Lord Gilbert said that Britain’s participation in the US programme ‘will provide us with information to inform future decisions, while keeping a range of options open’. Britain will select its gun in about 2000.
The US selected a gun designed by VSEL in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, for its XM177 programme last year. This beat another gun from Royal Ordnance.
The MoD stressed that joining the programme does not mean the UK will be buying the VSEL gun and the Royal Ordnance gun would also be a contender for the UK competition.