Raytheon Co.’s Excalibur precision-guided 155 mm artillery round has passed its final testing hurdle for fielding with the successful completion of a so-called Limited User Test in February at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ.
Pending additional system-level certification, Excalibur will be fielded to US Army and Canadian field artillery units. When Excalibur is fielded, it will mark the deployment of the world’s first autonomous precision-guided artillery projectile, providing soldiers and Marines with unprecedented fire support accuracy from weapon systems organic to the current Brigade Combat Team Force structure.
“This is great news from the Excalibur team,” said Maj. Gen. David Ralston, commanding general, US Army Fires Center of Excellence. “As the first autonomous guided field artillery projectile, Excalibur provides the users—our field artillery soldiers and Marines—an enhanced capability for responsive, precise and lethal fires in support of the ground commander while simultaneously reducing collateral damage to civilian personnel and facilities.”
“Excalibur is out of the lab and in the hands of our soldiers and Marines,” said Jim Riley, vice president of the Raytheon Land Combat Product Line. “Excalibur provides the ground commander with a powerful tool to shape the battlefield in real time and dominate the battlespace.”
“The successful Limited User Testing was due to hard work on the part of the development team, the Excalibur new equipment training team and soldiers from 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division,” Riley said.
“The soldiers operated as truck drivers during their last Iraqi employment. They quickly learned how to use Excalibur with support from the new equipment training team, the unit’s soldiers and the user-friendly manner in which Excalibur is integrated into the fire support system. The unit successfully conducted simulated and live Excalibur missions in a tactical environment and is looking forward to using Excalibur in the field,” Riley concluded.
With its accuracy and increased effectiveness, Excalibur provides operational flexibility and reduces logistical burden for deployed ground forces. It also significantly reduces collateral damage through increased precision, near-vertical descent and optimized fragmentation pattern. The extended range of the Ia-2 Excalibur (26 miles or 40 km when fired from LW155 and Paladin howitzers), in development now with a planned initial operational capability in fiscal year 2009, will enable positioning of forces and further extend maneuver forces’ tactical reach.