Unveiling Precision and Power: Excalibur 155mm Artillery Shells in the Spanish Army's Arsenal

Unveiling Precision and Power: Excalibur 155mm Artillery Shells in the Spanish Army's Arsenal

The Spanish Army, known as Ejército de Tierra, has recently achieved a significant milestone in its ongoing artillery modernization efforts. This accomplishment comes on the heels of a series of live-fire tests that showcased the capabilities of the M982 Excalibur 155mm precision-guided artillery shells. These cutting-edge munitions are equipped with advanced guidance capabilities, ushering in a new era of precision and power in Spanish artillery.

The live-fire trials involved two pivotal components of Spanish artillery equipment: the SIAC 155/52 towed howitzer and the M1905 A5 155mm self-propelled howitzer. The successful completion of these tests serves as a testament to the compatibility of Excalibur munitions with the Spanish Army's artillery assets.

The journey of the Spanish Army towards adopting the Excalibur system has been marked by a comprehensive training program. Military personnel from the Artillery Support Command (MACA, Mando de Artillería de Campaña) underwent specialized training in the United States. They became proficient in the operation and utilization of the Excalibur system, thanks to international collaboration that has paved the way for the Spanish Army to effectively integrate this advanced ammunition into its arsenal.

Over the past two years, the Spanish Army has acquired 250 Excalibur 155mm projectiles. This acquisition not only included the munitions themselves but also the auxiliary equipment necessary for calculating and transmitting firing data. This data plays a pivotal role in ensuring the precise use of Excalibur munitions, maintaining their accuracy, and minimizing the risk of collateral damage.

The Spanish Army is unwavering in its commitment to incorporating target acquisition systems alongside Excalibur munitions, emphasizing the importance of precision and safety in modern artillery operations.

The M982 Excalibur, formerly known as XM982, is the result of collaborative efforts between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), the United States Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), and the prime contractor, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, along with other subcontractors and primes. This precision-guided artillery shell boasts GPS and inertial guidance systems, enabling it to operate effectively in scenarios where standard unguided artillery fire may be impractical or pose risks to nearby civilians or friendly troops.

Unveiling Precision and Power: Excalibur 155mm Artillery Shells in the Spanish Army's Arsenal

Excalibur is designed as a longer-range alternative to conventional artillery shells, offering an impressive range of approximately 40 to 57 kilometers, depending on configuration. With a circular error probable (CEP) of only four meters, it significantly enhances the precision and effectiveness of artillery strikes. In comparison, unguided Western artillery shells can land up to 150 meters from the target at a range of 24 kilometers.

While the Excalibur shell comes at a higher cost of $68,000 per unit, it remains a more cost-effective option compared to guided-missile systems like the M142 HIMARS and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, which cost $150,000 per rocket.

The key to Excalibur's extended range lies in its innovative folding glide fins, allowing the projectile to glide from the apex of its ballistic trajectory toward the intended target. This technology sets it apart from other artillery shells and ensures a higher level of accuracy. For those seeking a budget-friendly alternative, the U.S. Army-designed M1156 Precision Guidance Kit can be used to transform existing 155mm shells into precision-guided weapons.

The Excalibur munition is the result of a fruitful partnership between Raytheon Missiles & Defense, responsible for the guidance system, and BAE Systems Bofors in Sweden, which contributed to the body, base, ballistics, and payload of the projectile. Excalibur is specifically designed to minimize collateral damage, making it ideal for engaging targets beyond the range of standard munitions or in situations where precision is vital, such as firing within 150 meters of friendly troops or when the terrain restricts direct fire.

What truly sets Excalibur apart is its multi-function fuze, which can be programmed to detonate in the air, upon impact with a hard surface, or after penetrating a target. The accuracy and effectiveness of Excalibur are such that a single projectile can achieve the same results that would typically require between 10 and 50 unguided artillery rounds.

The integration of Excalibur 155mm artillery shells into the Spanish Army's arsenal represents a remarkable step forward in artillery modernization. These precision-guided munitions bring a new level of precision and power to Spanish artillery operations, ensuring the safety of friendly forces and civilians while enhancing the effectiveness of strikes on target. As the Spanish Army continues to harness the capabilities of Excalibur, its position as a formidable and modern military force is solidified.

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