Satellite-Guided Artillery Shell Fired for the First Time


Released on Thursday, November 11, 2004
Sweden
United States of America
M198
M777A2
M982 Excalibur
CEP - Circular Error Probable
Raytheon and Bofors Defence AB, a United Defense subsidiary, team successfully conducted the first fire test of a satellite-guided 155mm artillery shell under the Excalibur program.

The 155mm Excalibur artillery shell relies upon a GPS-based navigation/guidance system to precisely engage its intended target. This navigation system must overcome extreme G-force during gun launch. The advanced projectile is being developed jointly by the United States and Sweden and is expected to become operational in 2006 with the armies of both countries.

The test was conducted in early November this year. Excalibur shell hit the intended aim point with a CEP less than 3.4 meters (11-ft) and ranging about 20 kilometers from the firing location. The XM777 howitzer and the tactical propellant charge of the Modular Artillery Charge System-four (MACS-4) were used to fire the innovative Excalibur round. All test parameters were within the Excalibur program specifications which makes this test a real success.

The Excalibur round has been designed to hit the target at a near vertical descent using its control actuator system. This feature is exceptionally suitable for urban warfare due to the limited space available between city structures. In addition to affordable precision strike, Excalibur will significantly reduce logistical burden when deployed with ground forces at any part of the world.

Using the 39-caliber M777 gun Excalibur will be able to hit targets ranging up to 40 kilometers (24.8 miles). Using a 52-caliber gun, such as those owned by Sweden ground forces, the maximum range expands to 50 kilometers (31 miles).

Current US Army plans call for the first Excalibur round to be fielded along M777 howitzer in fiscal year 2006 to a Stryker brigade of the US Army 25th Infantry Division. Since then, M777 lightweight howitzer will replace the proven 155mm M198 howitzer in the US Army inventory.

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