Raytheon gets USD 84Mn contract from US Army to help replenish stockpile of Excalibur 155mm munitions

The U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon and Missiles Defense an $84 million contract to produce Excalibur 1B precision-guided munitions to help replenish stockpiles of the weapon sent to Ukraine. The Excalibur 1B variant the service most recently ordered features Enhanced Shaped Trajectory, or EST, software that enables soldiers to eliminate targets in hard-to-reach locations by selecting the projectile’s terminal or final phase attack angle.
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Raytheon 155mm M982 Excalibur round (Picture source: U.S. Army)

The award officially dating back to November 29 utilized Tranche 7 funding for more than 1,000 Excalibur 1B precision-guided rounds, which have also been sent to Ukraine as part of the U.S. military assistance to Ukraine against the Russian invasion. “The Army is focused on acquisition at speed in a responsible manner,” said Douglas Bush, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. “That applies to the Army’s support to Ukraine as well as routine program activity – a winning strategy for our Soldiers, America and our allies.”

The Excalibur projectile, co-developed by Raytheon Missiles & Defense and BAE Systems Bofors, is a true precision weapon, impacting at a radial miss distance of fewer than two meters from the target. Unlike “near precision” guidance systems, the Excalibur weapon provides accurate first-round effects at all ranges in all weather conditions. This weapon system also extends the reach of .39-caliber artillery to 40 kilometers, .52-caliber artillery to 50 kilometers, and .58-caliber artillery to 70 kilometers. By using the Excalibur projectile's level of precision, there is a dramatic reduction in the time, cost and logistical burden associated with other artillery munitions. Analyses have shown that on average, it can take at least 10 conventional munitions to accomplish what one Excalibur weapon can.

The Excalibur munition is compatible with every howitzer with which it’s been tested. This weapon is fully qualified in multiple systems, including the M777, M109 series, M198, the Archer and PzH2000. It’s also currently compatible with the AS90, K9, Denel G6, and CAESAR 6x6 systems. Excalibur has been successfully fired from the U.S. Army's Extended Range Cannon Artillery, or ERCA, and plans are underway to integrate it with other mobile artillery systems.

The Excalibur projectile’s precision, coupled with its ability to be integrated on multiple gun systems, enables both the U.S. and its coalition partners to provide overmatch capabilities against land targets in a variety of combat environments. This includes stationary land targets.

Sweden, Canada, Australia, Jordan, India, Spain and the Netherlands have chosen the Excalibur precision-guided projectile to address vital security interests, and several other international partners are finalizing procurement plans.

Multiple variants

No mission is the same. That's why there are several Excalibur variants to meet the unique needs of different battlefield scenarios.

Excalibur 1B: The upgraded Excalibur 1B features Enhanced Shaped Trajectory, or EST, software that enables soldiers to eliminate targets in hard-to-reach locations by selecting the projectile's terminal or final phase attack angle. This capability was successfully tested and is being deployed to U.S. forces.

Excalibur HTK: Excalibur HTK has an armor-penetrating warhead and leverages the proven StormBreaker smart weapon design. It autonomously locates a target with an all-weather seeker that is effective against moving and imprecisely located targets.

Excalibur S: A laser-guided version of the projectile, the Excalibur S incorporates a digital semi-active laser seeker that allows it to hit moving targets and engage and strike targets without accurate location information. It also reduces the risk associated with GPS jamming.

Excalibur N5: The sea-based Excalibur N5 is a 5-inch naval variant that more than doubles the maximum range of conventional 5-inch munitions and provides the same accuracy as land-based versions.

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Preparation of an M982 Excalibur 155mm round at Fire Base Ball, in Iraq (Picture source: U.S. Marine Corps)