Artillery types

Army orders batch of Excalibur GPS-guided artillery smart munitions under $66.2 million contract with Raytheon

PICATINNY ARSENAL, NJ – Smart munitions experts at Raytheon Technologies Corp. will potentially build hundreds of additional M982 Excalibur satellite-guided heavy artillery shells for the US military as part of a $66.2 million order announced Thursday.

Army Contracts Command officials at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, request the Raytheon Missiles & Defense Segment in Tucson, Arizona to produce additional Excalibur Ib projectiles. Excalibur was first deployed in Iraq in 2007 for urban or complex terrain missions where collateral damage must be kept to a minimum.

Excalibur has a hardened Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation receiver and uses satellite signals to guide itself to its targets. The 155mm artillery shell can hit targets up to 25 miles away, or detect and attack moving targets in cities and other complex terrain after being fired at high angles and high altitudes.

The precision-guided, extended-range M982 Excalibur artillery rounds are smart rounds that fire and forget with better accuracy than existing 155 millimeter artillery rounds. These shells are stabilized by fins and are designed to glide towards targets using core bleeder technology, as well as canards located at the front of the round that create aerodynamic lift.

Related: Army places $85.7 million order with Raytheon for Excalibur satellite-guided smart artillery munitions

Although the GPS-guided M982 is perhaps the longest range artillery munition in the US arsenal, it has the ability to be fired almost directly from positions in cities or hilly terrain, to engage its high altitude precision guidance system and to detect and attack moving targets – even individual vehicles – with accuracy better than 65 feet from the desired aiming point.

The shells are guided by GPS signals and inertial measurement units, and can be fired from the M109 family of self-propelled howitzers, as well as the M198 and M777A2 towed howitzers. This ammunition is also being studied for naval deck guns.

Excalibur artillery shells are of three types: high-explosive; smart munitions that detect and attack moving targets; and shells capable of identifying and attacking individual vehicles in cities and other complicated terrain. A new variant integrates a laser dot tracker into the Excalibur Ib combat projectile.

The laser dot tracker will allow the round to attack moving targets, engage enemy artillery that has moved after firing, or alter the point of impact to avoid casualties and collateral damage.

Related: Army asks Northrop Grumman to build add-on kits to convert artillery shells into GPS-guided smart munitions

The military is also developing a GPS-guided 120 millimeter mortar round called Roll Control Guided Mortar (RCGM) with the General Dynamics Corp segment. Ordnance and Tactical Systems in St. Petersburg, Florida.

On this order, Raytheon will perform the work in Southway, England; East Camden, Ark.; Gilbert, Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona; Chino, Healdsburg, Inglewood, Santa Clara and Valencia, CA; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Woodridge, Ill.; Joplin, Missouri/ Cookstown, NJ; Farmington, New Mexico; Cincinnati; McAlester, Okla., Lansda, e Pa.; Trenton, Texas; and Salt Lake City, and is expected to be completed by April 2024.

For more information, contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at www.raytheonmissilesanddefense.com, or the Army Contracting Command-New Jersey at https://acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc-nj/.