Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., are asking Raytheon to the 155-millimeter Excalibur artillery ammunition, as well as 12 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.
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.
Last year Raytheon test-fired a dual-mode GPS- and laser-guided Excalibur S for the first time. Raytheon experts fired the smart munition initialized with a GPS target location, and scored a direct hit on a different, or offset target after being terminally guided with a laser designator, company officials say.
This test validated the laser spot tracker's ability to survive the forces of firing from a 155-millimeter howitzer and then hand off from the GPS to guide to a laser spot on the designated target.
The Army also is developing a GPS-guided 120-millimeter mortar round called the Roll Control Guided Mortar (RCGM) together with the General Dynamics Corp. Ordnance and Tactical Systems segment in St. Petersburg, Fla.
On last week's contract modification, Raytheon will do the work in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; McAlester, Okla.; Farmington, N.M; East Camden, Ark.; Valencia, Santa Ana, Inglewood, Chino, Healdsburg, and Corona, Calif.; Anniston Ala.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Joplin, Mo.; Lowell, Mass.; McKinney, Texas; Woodridge, Ill.; Salt Lake City; Congers, N.Y.; Minneapolis; Karlskoga, Sweden; and Glenrothes and Plymouth, United Kingdom, and should be finished by October.