India has signed a $660 million contract on the purchase 145 M777 ultralight howitzers manufactured in the U.S. by BAE Systems Land & Armaments, IANS news agency reported on Friday.
The M777 is a 155-mm towed artillery gun, primarily used in mountainous areas, with a firing range of up to 30 km. It is also the first 155 mm howitzer weighing less than 10,000 lbs (4,218 kg).
Two months ago, a report from the independent Stockholm-based International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which researches conflicts, arms control and disarmament, placed India at the top of a ranking of the world's largest heavy arms importers.
According to the report, India, the largest arms recipient, accounted for 10 percent of global arms imports between 2007 and 2011.