The US Army is contracting Raytheon Missile Systems for the production of artillery shells. The contract
modification is valued at $93 million and provides for the procurement of Excalibur 155mm projectiles. The M982 Excalibur is delivered as a complete 155mm artillery shell, with GPS guidance and pop-out fins. Excalibur
is an International Cooperative Development program involving the USA and Sweden, on account of their interest for their Archer artillery program. The most recent operational version is the Excalibur Block Ia-2. It adds base bleed technology and maximum charge compatibility, in order to increase range from 14.3 to 25.9 statute miles when fired from US howitzers or Denel’s G6. One Excalibur round costs about $70.000. Work will be performed at various locations, including Tucson, Arizona; McAlester, Oklahoma; Karlskoga, Sweden and South Plymouth, United Kingdom. The contract has an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2020.
Excalibur’s integrated design makes it more expensive than screw-in fuze/guidance options like PGK, but it’s also more accurate. As electronics, GPS, and hence screw-in systems improve, Raytheon needs to stay ahead. The Excalibur Ib has improved accuracy and cost, but next steps involve new guidance systems that would dramatically expand Excalibur’s capabilities and market.