The U.S. has sent its most accurate GPS-Guided artillery shell with sniper like capabilities to Ukraine. The Excalibur projectile, co-developed by Raytheon Missiles & Defense and BAE Systems Bofor, can be fired in all-weather and has a pinpoint accuracy of less than seven feet. The Excalibur can hit targets up to 25 miles away. Anthony Capaccio and Roxana Tiron of Bloomberg write (abridged):
The Pentagon has sent Ukraine its most accurate artillery shell, the GPS-guided Excalibur, according to budget documents that confirm the previously unannounced addition to the arsenal assembled to combat the Russian invasion.
A plan to replenish the US stock of Excaliburs acknowledges for the first time that the Pentagon has been supplying Ukrainian forces with the shell. Officials have sidestepped questions about the Excalibur despite reports that planning was underway to provide it and then that it was already in use in Ukraine.
A satellite-guided weapon that can hit within seven feet (two meters) of its target, the Excalibur was first used in Iraq in 2007 in the high-profile killing of al-Qaeda leader Abu Jurah and associates.
The Defense Department will spend $92 million in congressionally approved supplemental funds “for procurement of replacement M982 Excalibur munitions transferred to Ukraine in support of the international effort to counter Russian aggression,” according to a budget document last month that wasn’t previously disclosed.
Used in 155mm howitzers — the Army’s workhorse field artillery — the projectile was co-developed by Raytheon Missiles and Defense and BAE Systems Bofor. The precision-guided Excalibur lets battlefield commanders zero in on targets more precisely. It has a range of 25 miles (40.5 kilometers), according to the documents.
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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