Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, in partnership with the U.S. Army and French company Nexter successfully fired Excalibur artillery projectiles from a CAESAR self-propelled howitzer. The test proved compatibility between Excalibur, the U.S. Army’s Modular Artillery Charge System (MACS) and CAESAR. During the demonstration the CAESAR-fired M982 Excalibur directly struck two targets at a distance of more than 46 kilometers, a record setting range from the gun system. This weapon system also extends the reach of .39-caliber artillery to 40 km and .52-caliber artillery to more than 50 km. Building on previous compatibility tests, this demonstration marked an important milestone toward operational capability for Excalibur’s integration with CAESAR. This weapon is fully qualified in multiple systems, includingthe M777, M109 series, M198, the Archer, the PzH2000, and the SIAC systems. . It’s also compatible with the AS90, K9 and G6 howitzers.
“Chosen by eight partner nations, CAESAR is arguably the most successful truck mounted artillery system available today. This demonstration with Excalibur underscores CAESAR’s compatibility with NATO standards for both conventional and smart ammunition,” said Thierry Soulat, program manager at Nexter.
“Integration with CAESAR now adds a level of mobility to the long-range and proven precision of Excalibur, providing the U.S. Army and partner nations more flexibility for this advanced, versatile weapons system for contested environments. This success highlights the interoperability of a French howitzer with a U.S. munition and offers our customers more options to deploy Excalibur artillery from a range of platforms,” said Sam Deneke, vice president of execution for Land Warfare & Air Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense.
The M982 Excalibur (previously XM982) is a 155 mm extended range guided artillery shell developed during a collaborative effort between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the United States Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC). The Excalibur was developed and/or manufactured by prime contractor Raytheon Missile Systems, BAE Systems AB and other subs & primes in multiple capacities such as Camber Corporation & Huntington Ingalls Industries. The Excalibur projectile is a true precision weapon, impacting at a radial miss distance of less than two meters from the target. Unlike “near precision” guidance systems, the Excalibur weapon provides accurate first-round effects at all ranges in all weather conditions. 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.
Excalibur was developed as a longer-ranged alternative to conventional artillery shells, with GPS guidance for improved accuracy] Excalibur has a range of approximately 40 to 57 kilometers (25 to 35 mi) depending on configuration, with a circular error probable (CEP) of around 5 to 20 meters (16 to 66 ft). The extended range is achieved through the use of folding glide fins, which allow the projectile to glide from the top of a ballistic arc towards the target. It has a multi-function fuze that can be programmed to explode in the air, once it hits a hard surface, or after it penetrates inside a target. One Excalibur projectile can accurately hit an intended target that would require the use of between 10 and 50 unguided artillery rounds. Raytheon is developing a laser-guided version of the projectile, the Excalibur S. This variant incorporates a digital semi-active laser seeker, allowing it to hit moving targets and engage and strike targets without accurate location information. A 5-inch variant, the Excalibur N5 munition, is also in development. This sea-based projectile is expected to more than double the maximum range of conventional 5-inch munitions and will provide the same accuracy as the land-based version.