TUCSON, Ariz., 28 June 2005. The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon Company a $22.1 million contract for initial production and early fielding of Excalibur, an artillery projectile that uses satellite guidance to provide precision accuracy at extended ranges for all current and future 155mm howitzers.
Excalibur is a cooperative effort between Raytheon Missile Systems and Bofors Defence of Sweden.
Raytheon will provide Excalibur projectiles, testing, manufacturing tooling, test and inspection equipment, projectile shipping/storage containers, and training support necessary to provide initial capability to the Army in fiscal year 2006, more than three years ahead of when full operational capability will be achieved.
Excalibur will conclude developmental testing, and the first production rounds will be delivered by the end of 2005. The Excalibur rounds will be delivered as part of a system which includes an AFATDS (Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System) update for Excalibur and approximately 14 stand-alone fuze setters to be fielded to Paladin units serving in Iraq. Excalibur will also be compatible with the Army and Marine M777 light weight howitzer. The Marines have recently begun M777 fielding, and the U.S. Army will field M777 next year in conjunction with forming the Stryker Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division.
"The decision to pursue this early fielding reflects the Army's urgent need for organic precision-guided artillery munitions and is a sign that Raytheon Missile Systems and Bofors Defence have reached technical maturity in their design," said Lt. Col. William Cole, the Army's Excalibur product manager at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
This contract follows on the heels of months of successful testing. In November 2004, the contractor and Army Excalibur team successfully fired the world's first global positioning satellite-guided 155mm artillery projectile, which navigated to a target 20 kilometers down range, impacting 3.4 meters from the aim point.
In December 2004, the program proved reliability by repeating the test and impacting within 6.9 meters. Both were well within the Excalibur performance specification. The program is a key element of the transformation of cannon artillery to provide responsive precision strike capability for the U.S. Army's modular force.
Raytheon Missile Systems is the leading developer of guided projectiles, including Excalibur and the Navy's Extended-Range Guided Munition (ERGM). These projectiles will provide U.S. forces with critically-needed precision munitions capability that is required on the battlefield. Both systems will provide enhanced lethality and accuracy, while minimizing collateral damage in the complex urban environment. Excalibur and ERGM leverage many common components, supplier partnerships, and apply industry best practices to produce two low cost and reliable weapon systems that will meet or exceed all customer-defined requirements.
Raytheon Co., with 2004 sales of $20.2 billion, is an industry leader in defense and government electronics, space, information technology, technical services, and business and special mission aircraft. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 80,000 people worldwide. For more information, see www.raytheon.com.