US Begins Ordering Excalibur Ib GPS-Guided ShellsJan 17, 2013 17:00 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
On Jan 3/13, Raytheon Co. in Tucson, AZ received a $56.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy M982A1 Excalibur 155mm Precision Engagement Projectiles, also known as the Block Ib. Raytheon confirms that this FY 2012 contract marks the start of low-rate initial production, with options through FY 2016 for American and foreign military sales. Deliveries to the US Army will begin in Q4 2013.
Excalibur Block I shells are standard high-explosives, while Blocks II & III will add and refine additional guidance.
The most recent operational version is the Excalibur Block Ia-2 (M982). It adds base bleed technology and maximum charge compatibility, in order to increase range from 23 to 40 km (14.3 to 25.9 statute miles) when fired from U.S. howitzers or Denel’s G6. Excalibur Ia-2 received its type classification in 2010, and some tests have seen 100% of shots land within 5m, instead of the advertised 50% within 10m. The longest combat shot to date appears to be 36 km.
Excalibur Ib aims for the same performance with fewer parts, in order to reduce the shells’ cost and improve the existing 10% unreliability rate.
Work on the Excalibur Ib LRIP contract will be performed in Tucson, AZ; McAlester, OK; Farmington, NM; Camden, AR; Healdsburg, CA; Anniston, AL; Cincinnati, OH; Cedar Rapids, IA; Joplin, MO; Lowell, MA; Corona, CA; Inglewood, CA; Chino, IL; Sweden; and United Kingdom; with an estimated completion date of April 30/14. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ (W15QKN-08-C-0530).