BAE sets sights on US army contract

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BAE Systems has successfully tested 20 rounds of a new form of GPS-guided cannon ammunition for the US Army. The company fired the 155mm projectiles equipped with its Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) test modules at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

The ammunition was developed by BAE to improve the effectiveness and accuracy of modern cannon artillery, it is claimed. PGK can be fitted to conventional projectiles to provide them with a course correction capability said to be as accurate as conventional air-delivered weapons systems.

The trials form part of interim testing for the army and BAE is competing for a contract from the programme to develop a PGK 155mm GPS-guided system that can be accurate to within 50m.

'Our PGK development team is working hard to ensure our artillerymen have the accuracy they need to be successful in combat,' said Jim Unterseher, BAE Systems vice-president of army programmes.

Testing: the GPS-guided cannon ammunition is said to improve artillery efficiency

The 20 rounds consisted of various test configurations, including fully autonomous GPS-guided rounds. BAE fired M549 Rocket Assisted Projectiles to a range of about 20.5km. These rounds were able to pick up a GPS signal in time to change course and hit a designated target within a certain margin of error.

The latest tests follow preliminary testing at the same location in June 2005 and is the second series in the last two months.

BAE Systems claims it can deliver PGK within two years.