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Raytheon Completes Extended-Range Test For Excalibur Block Ia-2

File photo: Excalibur Artillery Projectile. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Tucson AZ (SPX) Nov 30, 2006
Raytheon's Missile Systems business and BAE Systems-Bofors successfully fired the first extended-range GPS-guided Excalibur projectiles at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., last month. Excalibur is the next-generation family of projectiles for U.S. Army and Marine Corps artillery.

The so-called Guided Series-6 test of the Excalibur Block Ia-2 consisted of two inert rounds configured with tactical base and live base bleed. Base bleed is a solid fuel that burns in the base of the projectile, expelling gas that reduces drag with the result of extending range. The primary test objectives were to demonstrate the navigational functionality throughout the flight with live base bleed and to verify base-bleed performance.

"Continued test successes demonstrate Excalibur's ability to meet the full Block Ia requirements," said Lt. Col. Joe Minus, U.S. Army product manager for the Excalibur program. "The base bleed with charge five will propel Excalibur beyond the 40-kilometer (24.8 miles) objective range from the current U.S. howitzers."

The Archer, the Swedish 52-caliber howitzer, will achieve an Excalibur range of approximately 33 miles (50 kilometers). The Block Ia-2 tests will include full system performance testing, to include maximum range shots from the Archer, and will be conducted in parallel with Block Ia-1 urgent fielding.

The Excalibur program is responding to an urgent request from the warfighter to accelerate fielding because of the projectile's better than 10- meter (33 feet) accuracy that is not available from any other artillery projectile. With its accuracy and increased effectiveness, Excalibur provides operational flexibility and reduces the logistical burden for deployed ground forces.

It also reduces collateral damage through increased precision, near- vertical descent and optimized fragmentation pattern. Excalibur Ia-1 is to be fielded to deployed forces in early 2007. The extended range of the Ia-2 Excalibur, with a planned initial operational capability in fiscal year 2008, will enable optimal positioning of forces and further extend a maneuver unit's tactical reach.

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