High-Tech Artillery Shell From Raytheon Likely To Be Sent To Iraq In May




 
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April 20th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: High-Tech Artillery Shell From Raytheon Likely To Be Sent To Iraq In May


Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)
April 19, 2007
$39K Excaliburs could be huge for Tucson plant
By Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg News
A satellite-guided artillery shell made by Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems will likely be deployed to Iraq next month, according to Army officials.
The Army shipped the 155 mm Excalibur shells to Kuwait after the weapon in February demonstrated accuracy within 20 feet of its target, a precision that can minimize civilian casualties and accidental U.S. military deaths in a war that is increasingly urban.
An unguided 155 mm shell can miss its target by as much as 900 feet.
The shells are awaiting final Army approval before shipment to Iraq.
For Raytheon Southern Arizona' biggest employer with more than 11,000 workers in Tucson successful combat use would be a milestone in a $1.4 billion program for up to 30,000 shells costing about $39,000 apiece.
Raytheon is under contract to make the first 500 rounds, Raytheon Missile Systems spokesman Everett Tackett said in an e-mail statement. The Army program office at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., says Raytheon will produce at least the first 3,000 shells and could compete to make the remaining 27,000.
"There's potentially a lot of money to be made," said Dean Lockwood, a ground-weapons expert for Forecast International, a Newton, Conn., market-research firm.
"The Army has been looking for this capability for a long time," Lockwood said in a telephone interview. "It's a good system, but the big test will be when they shoot it against a real target."
Meeting an "urgent" call
The Army planned to field the Excalibur in October 2008 but decided in March 2005 to accelerate that schedule to meet an "urgent" call from Iraq-based Army commanders for a precision- guided cannon round, said Col. John Tanzi of the Army's artillery center at Fort Sill, Okla.
The commanders wanted to improve their ability to support troops under fire as the fight in Iraq increasingly becomes urban guerrilla warfare, according to Army commanders and Lockwood.
The Army also wanted a weapon with a much smaller warhead than the 200-pound charge on its only precision-guided ground-based mobile rocket system, officials said.
The 50-pound Excalibur warhead also offers a quicker, more precise response than Air Force jets or Apache helicopters carrying much larger precision-guided weapons, officials said.
Slowed by glitches
Raytheon received a $22.1 million contract in June 2005 to accelerate the program, and the Army program office and Raytheon Missile Systems said the first shells could be deployed by March 2006.
The schedule was slowed 14 months by manufacturing flaws as the program moved from development into early production. The delays prompted the Army to reduce by $5 million, or 38 percent, a pool of $13 million in performance bonuses Raytheon could have earned for accelerating the shell's deployment, the Army said.
"I think we'll see it by mid-May," Tanzi said. A training team left this week and will begin instructing units on the shell's use by early May, he said.
The Army and Raytheon "worked hard to correct a number of reliability issues," Charles McQueary, Pentagon director of operational test and evaluation, said in an e-mailed statement. "We view Excalibur as on track to meet reliability and accuracy requirements."
$120,000 each at first
The first shells sent to Iraq will cost $120,000 apiece, in part reflecting the cost of "numerous failure reviews and corrective actions that delayed production" and completion of tests, Army Picatinny Arsenal spokeswoman Audra Calloway said.
The Army anticipates the shells will cost about $39,000 apiece once production increases. Raytheon does final assembly and checkout of the weapons at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, McAlester, Okla. BAE Systems Bofors of Karlskoga, Sweden, makes the warhead and the shell's base.
The Excalibur is guided to its target by Global Positioning System satellites. In February tests, it hit within 20 feet, or 6 meters, of its target better than the 32 feet, or 10 meters, it demonstrated last year, Tanzi said.
April 20th, 2007  
RFOWELL
 
Not too long ago I posed the question "Will the battle tank ever become obsolete?"
Weapons such as guided artillery shells again makes me wonder about the future of the tank. Even with good counter measures, enough shells in the air at the same time would probabl be too much to protect against.

Time, I guess. will tell.
April 20th, 2007  
bulldogg
 
 
Missileer??
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April 20th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 
There are a lot of arty folks or former arty folks on this board. This is one step further on the path of the current and future arty officers and Soldiers losing that "art" of employment of forces in the field. When you break it down, artillery really is an art when employed.. now.. it is point and shoot.. no art really involved.
April 20th, 2007  
bulldogg
 
 
It seems to eliminate a need for all that bloody math and calculating the rotation of the bloody Earth... fark even I could be an arty occifer with shells like these.
April 20th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 
yeah, but see, that was the art of it BD... understanding that allowed you to deploy in depth and have a greater understanding of how to fight and what you could get out of your troops.

It is a much different environment.
April 20th, 2007  
bulldogg
 
 
Good copy TI. I see benefits from this new shell but it would be a serious mistake to let this replace the art. I see it as the same set of circumstances that happened with our fighter pilots between WWII and Vietnam. The reliance on the new missiles killed their dogfighting skills and when the missiles failed they got their asses handed to them. Knock on wood someone else is thinking like me.
April 20th, 2007  
Gator
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RFOWELL
Not too long ago I posed the question "Will the battle tank ever become obsolete?"
Weapons such as guided artillery shells again makes me wonder about the future of the tank. Even with good counter measures, enough shells in the air at the same time would probabl be too much to protect against.

Time, I guess. will tell.
The old 155mm Copperhead Cannon Launched Laser Guided Projectile was in my opinion the begining of the end for the Main Battle Tank within the range of 155mm Howitzers.

But, last I heard the Paladin 155mm SP was on its way out, and sadly the Crusader 155mm SP was on the chopping block. So, without a 155mm Self Propelled Firing Platform the Tank will still be able to move outside the range of the semi-Fixed Gun Emplacements of the Firebase.

In short without the SP Gun firing the high tech shells the Main Battle Tank still maintains maneuverability over the Towed Howitzer.
April 20th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gator
The old 155mm Copperhead Cannon Launched Laser Guided Projectile was in my opinion the begining of the end for the Main Battle Tank within the range of 155mm Howitzers.

But, last I heard the Paladin 155mm SP was on its way out, and sadly the Crusader 155mm SP was on the chopping block. So, without a 155mm Self Propelled Firing Platform the Tank will still be able to move outside the range of the semi-Fixed Gun Emplacements of the Firebase.

In short without the SP Gun firing the high tech shells the Main Battle Tank still maintains maneuverability over the Towed Howitzer.
I agree with you Gator. We used the Copperhead when I as an LT long ago, but a large percentage of them were dirt darts. You needed almost perfect firing conditions to actually hit a target. I can remember days in Germany firing the darn thing and missing the target because of "technical" difficulties. Glad we don't use that round anymore.

Expensive rounds... not that good of performance.
April 20th, 2007  
Redleg
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Infidel
This is one step further on the path of the current and future arty officers and Soldiers losing that "art" of employment of forces in the field. When you break it down, artillery really is an art when employed.. now.. it is point and shoot.. no art really involved.
As a former Survey and Recce Occifer I certainly agree with you there TI.
It's actually a pretty good feeling when the first round hits the target right on and you know that you've done all of the math/calculations and positioning 100% (the real "art of arty war" ).

For "surgical" warfare in populated/urban areas the Excalibur would be highly useful to reduce the risk of collateral damage since a hit within 50-75 meters of the target with normal "dumb" rounds is considered a bullseye...

But I don't think we'll see the end of our "art" yet since the price of smart arty rounds are still a tiny bit high for most countries.
 


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