Artillery vehicle

Precision-guided artillery could shake up the war between Ukraine and Russia

Ukraine’s armed forces may soon receive GPS-guided precision artillery rounds, which could provide unprecedented attack capabilities and targeting technology to those defending against the Russian invasion.

Much has been made of Ukraine receiving 155mm Howitzer artillery systems and how these US-supplied systems could help Ukrainian fighters destroy Russian targets from a distance before attacks. However, less has been said about the supply of ammunition to the Ukrainians. Are the Ukrainians getting Raytheon’s GPS-guided Excalibur artillery shells, capable of locating enemy targets within a meter of accuracy at ranges of up to 30 km or more? Pentagon spokesman John Kirby neither confirmed nor denied reports that the Ukrainians were getting the Excalibur, but did stress that 155mm ammunition would be delivered.

“[W]We talked about, you know, 155 millimeter shells to go with these howitzers, and they keep coming into Ukraine. I mean, between the two tranches, between PDAs seven and eight, you’re talking about almost 190,000 total rounds of 155 millimeter artillery,” Kirby said.

While it may be unreasonable to expect Ukraine to receive the most advanced Excalibur weapons, such as “shaped trajectory” shells or laser-guided Excalibur S shells, Ukrainians can receive shells Standard Excalibur which offer GPS-guided precision targeting to howitzers. at distances of 30 km or more. Precision shells would be a great improvement for Ukrainian artillery forces, which could then more easily destroy more difficult to reach and high-value Russian targets, as well as specific systems and platforms identified by surveillance systems, drones and other command and control technologies.

Yet, according to the Defense Ministry, Ukraine appears to have laser-guided precision rocket systems, which could have a significant impact on locating and destroying some of Russia’s mobile command and control systems, launchers and even moving vehicles. If a drone or advanced ground unit has the ability to “paint” or illuminate a Russian target with a laser indicator, rockets can be sent specifically to precisely destroy targets that are otherwise difficult to hit. Precision weapons also introduce the possibility of so-called decapitation strikes, in which enemy “leadership” can be precisely targeted if commanders receive new intelligence on the movements and whereabouts of Russian military leaders and other decision makers.

Kris Osborn is the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a highly trained expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Osborn also worked as an on-air military anchor and specialist on national television networks. He has appeared as a guest military pundit on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

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