In a first, missiles and munitions manufacturer, Raytheon has demonstrated its “Excalibur S” artillery round against a moving target.
In the test, a guided Excalibur round fired from a howitzer struck a moving target with precision. The development holds out the prospect of using artillery rounds fired from long distances against mobile targets such as tanks and armored vehicles.
Currently, missiles which are much more expensive than artillery rounds are used to strike moving targets at short ranges.
“New Excalibur S precision-guided munition scored direct hits on moving targets in a US Navy test. Testing validated the projectile's ability to survive the shock and stress of a howitzer firing, then transition from GPS to laser guidance and hit a moving target,” the company said in a statement last week.
The artillery shell uses the Excalibur Ib variant's GPS technology and incorporates a semi-active laser seeker to engage mobile land and maritime targets at comparable ranges. Existing Ib projectiles can be upgraded with Excalibur S capabilities.
The Excalibur precision-guided projectile is co-developed by Raytheon Company and BAE Systems Bofors. It is a GPS and inertial-guided munition capable of being used in close support situations within 75–150 metres of friendly troops or in situations where targets might be prohibitively close to civilians to attack with conventional unguided artillery fire.
The shells have a multi-function fuze that can be programmed to explode in the air, once it hits a hard surface, or after it penetrates inside a target.