PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J., 5 April 2011. Precision-attack munitions experts at the Raytheon Co. Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., are producing an advanced satellite-guided munition for U.S. Army heavy artillery units that can hit targets as far away as 25 miles, or detect and attack moving targets in cities and other complex terrain after being fired at high angles and high altitudes.
Raytheon Missile Systems won a $172.6 million contract last week to provide a block of M982 Excalibur unitary 155-millimeter precision-engagement artillery shells. Awarding the contract were officials of the Army Contracting Command at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
The M982 Excalibur precision-guided, extended-range artillery shell is a fire-and-forget smart munition with better accuracy than existing 155-millimeter artillery rounds. These shells are fin-stabilized, and are designed to glide to targets with base bleed technology, as well as with canards located at the front of the munition that create aerodynamic lift.
Although the M982 is perhaps the longest-range artillery ammunition in the U.S. arsenal, it has the ability to be fired nearly straight up from positions in cities or hilly terrain and engage its precision-guidance system at high altitudes, and detect and attack moving targets -- even individual vehicles -- with an accuracy of better than 65 feet from the desired aim point.
The shells are guided by global positioning system (GPS) satellite navigation and inertial measurement unit, and can be fired from the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer, as well as from the M198 and M777A2 towed howitzers.
Excalibur artillery shells come in three kinds: high-explosive; smart munitions that detect and attack moving targets; and shells able to identify and attack vehicles individually in cities and other complicated terrain.
Excalibur first was fielded in Iraq in 2007 for urban or complex-terrain engagements in which collateral damage must be kept to a minimum. The munition is designed to be fired at a high-angle and change its flight path to hit its target.
Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz.; McAlester, Okla.; Farmington, N.M.; Niceville, Fla.; Healdsburg, Calif.; Anniston, Ala.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Anaheim, Calif.; Williamsport, Pa.; Joplin, Mo.; Lowell, Mass.; Karlskoga, Sweden; and in the United Kingdom, and should be finished by early 2013.