Ground Warfare

Spanish Army to Purchase M982 Excalibur-S 155mm Precision-guided Shell

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Spanish Army to Purchase M982 Excalibur-S 155mm Precision-guided Shell

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Raytheon disclosed on 5 February 2020 that it had conducted live firing tests of its Excalibur S projectile against moving targets for the US Navy at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona
M982 Excalibur-S 155mm Precision-guided Shell

The Spanish Army is set to bolster its artillery capabilities with the acquisition of the Excalibur-S 155mm precision-guided artillery shell, an upgraded variant of the M982 Excalibur munition. This advanced projectile features semi-active laser terminal guidance, providing the capability to engage both moving land and maritime targets with an impressive precision radius of under two meters. The decision to acquire the Excalibur-S comes on the heels of successful live-fire tests of the M982 Excalibur 155mm precision-guided artillery shells in October 2023, as reported by Army Recognition. These tests, which involved the SIAC 155/52 towed howitzer and the M109 A5 155mm self-propelled howitzer, marked the culmination of an extensive training program.

 155/52 APU SBT 155/52 towed howitzer
Spanish Army 155/52 APU SBT 155/52 towed howitzer. (Photo by Ejército de Tierra)

Military personnel from the Artillery Support Command (MACA) underwent specialized training in the United States on the Excalibur system, with the tests and training aimed at evaluating the compatibility of Excalibur munitions with Spanish artillery equipment. This marks a significant stride in the Spanish Army’s ongoing efforts to modernize its artillery capabilities. Over the past two years, the Spanish Army has procured 250 Excalibur 155mm ammunition rounds, along with essential auxiliary equipment for calculating and transmitting firing data. This equipment plays a pivotal role in achieving precision when employing these munitions. The Spanish Army emphasizes the importance of employing target acquisition systems alongside Excalibur munitions to maintain accuracy for guided projectiles and minimize the risk of collateral damage.

M109 A5 155mm self-propelled howitzer
Spanish Army M109 A5 155mm self-propelled howitzer. (Photo by Ejército de Tierra)

The M982 Excalibur ammunition system is designed to neutralize targets up to 50 kilometers away with a probable error circle of less than 4 meters. It integrates a comprehensive control system encompassing firing data calculation, fuze transmission, programming systems, and a navigation system with GPS control and guidance. The system also incorporates a Base Bleed module to extend its range and a Cannard-type guidance system, enabling the projectile to modify its trajectory aerodynamically. Operating in two flight phases, the Excalibur ammunition ensures correct system functionality and GPS signal reception in the first phase, following a ballistic trajectory. The second phase involves aerodynamic navigation towards the target, allowing for precise impact with the predetermined orientation and angle of attack. The projectile arms itself in the final two seconds of its trajectory to prevent detonation if it falls 30 meters away from the designated area.

M982 Excalibur 155 mm guided artillery shell
Spanish Army M982 Excalibur 155 mm guided artillery shell. (Photo by Ejército de Tierra)

The Spanish Army has witnessed the effectiveness of the Excalibur ammunition, with the SIAC achieving targets up to 50 kilometers away and the M109 reaching 40 kilometers, boasting a lethal radius of action of approximately 30 meters. This success has elevated the Field Artillery Command as a reference unit within the Spanish Army for the Excalibur system, responsible for providing fire support to various brigades and divisions. As the Spanish Army looks to the future, the integration of the Excalibur-S variant into its artillery arsenal is expected to further enhance its capabilities, particularly in accurately targeting moving land and maritime targets—a crucial capability for coastal artillery operations. The Excalibur-S variant’s semi-active laser guidance represents the next step in the evolution of this cutting-edge artillery system, promising increased precision and effectiveness in diverse operational scenarios.

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