Indian Army test fires Excalibur extended-range guided rounds from M777 howitzers
Indian Army test fires Excalibur extended-range guided rounds from M777 howitzers

Raytheon Awarded $9 Million Excalibur Projectiles Modification Contract for Indian Army

Raytheon Co. Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a $9,173,935 modification (P00013) to contract W15QKN-19-C-0017 for procurement of 155 mm Excalibur Increment Ib projectiles. The contract began June 2021 with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2023. with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2023. Fiscal 2021 Foreign Military Sales (India) funds in the amount of $9,173,935 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Newark, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.

The Indian Army is reportedly planning to acquire additional Excalibur precision-guided ammunition for M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzer guns from the US. In July 2020, in the wake of escalating tension with China in light of hostile Chinese posturing, particularly on the border between the Union Territory of Ladakh and Chinese-occupied Tibet, further purchases of Excalibur shells were announced by the Indian Ministry of Defence. Under fast track procedures, the Indian Armed Forces have received financial support of up to $66.23m to acquire the required weapon systems.

The Indian Army has for the first time test fired M982 Excalibur precision-guided, extended range artillery projectiles from M777 155 mm 39-caliber towed ultra light howitzer guns at the Pokhran test range in the Thar Desert region in northwestern India on December 9 2019. (Photo by U.S. Embassy India)

The M777 howitzer is a towed 155 mm artillery piece. It is used by the ground forces of Australia, Canada, India, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. The M777 is manufactured by BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division. Under the agreement, BAE Systems supplied 25 ready-built howitzers, while 120 guns were manufactured in India by Mahindra Defence Systems Limited. A total of 7 artillery regiments are planned, each of 18 guns. The first regiment is planned to be raised by end-2020 with 15 guns supplied by BAE systems and three guns supplied by Mahindra Defense Systems Limited.

The Indian Army will receive Excalibur Increment IB tactical projectiles with the American designation M982AI. The M982 Excalibur (previously XM982) is a 155 mm extended range guided artillery shell manufactured by prime contractor Raytheon Missile Systems and BAE Systems AB. It is a GPS and inertial-guided munition capable of being used in close support situations within 75–150 meters (250–490 ft) of friendly troops or in situations where targets might be prohibitively close to civilians to attack with conventional unguided artillery fire.