XM982 is a smart 155mm ammunition,
developed by Raytheon BAE Systems and Bofors Defense.
Excalibur is fired for
high elevation and then glides from its apogee to the assigned
target. The shell has a specially designed rotating fin for roll
stabilization, and integrated base bleed which facilitates maximum
range of 40km with conventional (155mm/39 Caliber) howitzers and up to 50km, when fired
from future tubes. The Excalibur uses inertial and satellite based GPS guidance
course corrections through the flight, to achieve pinpoint targeting
with an accuracy of 20mí CEP. Four
canard fins are used for guidance and control. Excalibur is actually
a cargo shell, which can be loaded with unitary warhead or
Submunitions such as the Bonus. Excalibur is considered to be part
of the Non-Line-Of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) system, part of the US Army
interim and objective forcesí FCS.
In June 2006 the U.S. Army awarded Raytheon Company a $42.7 million
production contract for tactical and test projectiles. The contract
followed a series of tests where the weapon demonstrated an accuracy
of 4.5 meters (about 14.8 feet) in 12 successful guided flights. The
tests successfully demonstrated the three fuzing modes (delay,
height-of-burst, and point detonate) and warhead lethality.
Lethality has been proven against wheeled and tracked lightly
armored military systems, simulated personnel targets and a steel
reinforced concrete structure. (In the initial versions Excalibur
will be using a unitary warhead.) Against the concrete structure,
Excalibur successfully penetrated the roof, detonating inside the
structure and causing impressive damage to the simulated target
The US Army is considering a different version of precision
artillery projectile as a future upgrade for Excalibur. For the
Block 1B the Army is evaluating Saber system, developed by ATK.
Saber, an advanced 155mm precision projectile will give artillery
batteries a precision-fire capability with significantly more
stand-off range than current 155mm artillery. It is designed for
compatibility with all existing and future 155mm cannons.
The first successful test firing of the Saber was conducted in June
2006. The advanced projectile was fired to a range of 48 km from a
155mm cannon, using a Zone-5 charge, the most powerful charge
configuration used by U.S. forces. The increased range of Saber's
boosted, ballistic trajectory flight path reduces the time from
gun-launch to impact and supports the expanded responsibilities of
Brigade Combat Teams.