Army asks Raytheon to build 464 Excalibur smart munitions for heavy artillery systems

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J., 7 Dec 2015. U.S. Army smart munitions experts are asking Raytheon Co. to build 464 M982 Excalibur satellite-guided heavy artillery shells under terms of an $31.8 million contract modification announced in late November.

Army chooses rugged accelerometers from Meggitt for testing the Excalibur smart artillery shell
Army chooses rugged accelerometers from Meggitt for testing the Excalibur smart artillery shell
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J., 7 Dec 2015. U.S. Army smart munitions experts are asking Raytheon Co. to build 464 M982 Excalibur satellite-guided heavy artillery shells under terms of an $31.8 million contract modification announced in late November.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., are asking the Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., to build the 155-millimeter Excalibur artillery ammunition, as well as three palletized containers.

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 smart munition has a ruggedized Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation receiver and uses satellite signals to help guide itself to its intended targets.

The shell 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.

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Excalibur 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, 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 GPS signals and inertial measurement units, 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.

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Raytheon experts also are working with the U.S. Navy to adapt Excalibur technology to naval guns aboard surface warships to engage sea-borne or land-based targets with precision accuracy. The So-called Excalibur N5 program could help U.S and allied naval surface forces with naval surface fire support, anti-surface warfare, and countering fast attack boats, Raytheon officials say.

On this latest contract modification, Raytheon will do the work in several locations in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Scotland, and Sweden, and should be finished by August 2017.

For more information contact Raytheon Missiles Systems online at www.raytheon.com, or the Army Contracting Command at Picatinny Arsenal at www.pica.army.mil.

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