Raytheon, US Army upgrade Excalibur precision guided projectile
Raytheon and the U.S. Army completed development of a revolutionary capability for cannon artillery by upgrading the combat-proven Excalibur precision-guided projectile. The Excalibur Shaped Trajectory, or EST, variant will enable soldiers to eliminate targets in hard-to-reach locations by selecting the projectile's terminal or final phase attack angle.
Sgt. Joseph Hatch, 1-37th Field Artillery, prepares an Excalibur round to be shot out of a M-777 A2 on Fort Irwin, Calif. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jennifer Grier)
With the Excalibur EST munition, soldiers can attack a bunker positioned on the opposite side of a mountain slope, target a multi-story building from the side rather than the top or defeat enemy assets positioned under highway overpasses. "This new version of Excalibur represents a major leap forward in capability for this already advanced guided projectile," said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. "With these enhancements, enemy forces can no longer hide from the long arm of Excalibur."
The EST variant was successfully demonstrated in August 2018 at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, and is now being deployed to U.S. forces. This capability will be made available to allies approved to procure the Excalibur projectile through foreign military sales.
With more than 1,400 rounds fired in combat, Excalibur is the revolutionary, extended-range, precision munition for the U.S. and international artillery forces. The weapon is fully qualified in multiple systems, including the M777, M109 series, M198, the Archer and PzH2000. It's also been tested in the AS90, K9 and G6 howitzers, with plans to integrate it with other mobile artillery systems.
In addition to the Excalibur EST variant, Raytheon has developed Excalibur S, a laser-guided version of the projectile. The company has also developed a 5-inch sea-based variant, the Excalibur N5 munition. It's expected to more than double the maximum range of conventional 5-inch munitions and will provide the same accuracy as the land-based version.