The Idaho Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment returned from its annual training July 24, after spending more than two weeks at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming, where it participated in its first M1156 Precision Guidance Kit new equipment training. The GPS guidance kit with fuze functions and integrated GPS receiver, provides the 1-148th FAR with the latest technology to perform its warfighting mission and enables the unit to more accurately deploy munitions within 30 meters of an intended target, as opposed to the average 50 meters of traditional artillery.
Small aerodynamic fins on the fuze allow the system to make flight adjustments of the round’s trajectory and steer the shell on target. A fail safe can also prevent the shell from exploding if it falls outside 150 meters of an intended target. This enables Soldiers to more confidently call in artillery support close to their position, reduce the number of shells needed to destroy a target and reduce difficulties in keeping crews supplied. The fuze kit weighs three pounds and threads into the nose of conventional 155mm high explosive artillery shells, providing near-precision capabilities at a cost far less than precision munitions.
The 1-148th FAR employs fire to destroy, neutralize, suppress or shape enemy forces and during counterattack to control land areas; and provides counterfire. It is equipped with M1096A6 Paladins, self-propelled howitzers that fire 155mm artillery shells. Crews that operate the Paladin consist of four-man teams; a driver, a number one man, a gunner and a howitzer section chief. The number one man is responsible for loading and firing the howitzer, the gunner fuzes the round and cuts propellant powder, while the section chief manages all firing data and ensures the howitzer is laid on target.
The M1156 Precision Guidance Kit, formerly XM1156, is a U.S. Army-designed precision guidance system to turn existing 155 mm artillery shells into smart weapons. The prime contractor was Alliant Techsystems – later merging with Orbital Sciences Corporation to form Orbital ATK, in turn being taken over by Northrop Grumman and renamed Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems – and the industry team includes Interstate Electronics Corporation. By April 2018, more than 25,000 PGKs had been produced. The PGK is compatible with various 155 mm artillery stockpiles to reduce dispersion.