Raytheon wields Excalibur

The US Army has awarded Raytheon a $42.7 million contract for fiscal year 2006 production of tactical Excalibur projectiles and related test articles and services.

Excalibur, a cooperative effort between Raytheon Missile Systems and BAE Systems Bofors of Sweden, is an artillery projectile that uses satellite guidance to provide precision accuracy at extended ranges for all current and future 155mm howitzers.

Raytheon will provide Excalibur projectiles, testing, manufacturing tooling, test and inspection equipment, projectile shipping and storage containers and training support necessary to sustain early fielding (EF). Initial early fielding is to be provided by the fiscal year 2005 production contract. The fiscal year 2006 contract will provide 335 tactical Excalibur rounds in addition to other services and test articles.

This contract is said to follow months of testing during which Excalibur demonstrated an accuracy of 4.5 meters (about 14.8 feet) in 12 successful guided flights. The tests successfully demonstrated the three fusing modes (delay, height-of-burst, and point detonate) and warhead lethality.

Lethality has been proven against wheeled and tracked lightly armoured military systems, simulated personnel targets and a steel reinforced concrete structure. Against the concrete structure, Excalibur successfully penetrated the roof, detonating inside the structure and causing damage to the simulated target array.