Raytheon and the US Navy say they have completed a new round of successful Excalibur N5 munition test firings.
The precision-guided projectiles demonstrated various short-, mid- and long-range capabilities, say the defence firm in a release.
Designed to be fired from the US Navy’s five-inch guns, Excalibur N5 is the sea-based variant of the extended-range munition used by ground forces. Raytheon say that the Excalibur weapon provides accurate, first-round effects at all ranges in all weather conditions and that is something recent tests have aimed to prove.
“Excalibur N5 answers the Navy’s need for a sea-launched, precision-guided projectile,” said Sam Deneke, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president.
“N5 doubles the range of the Navy’s big guns and delivers the same accuracy as the land-based version.”
Excalibur has been fired more than 1,400 times in combat. The precision-guided projectile was co-developed by Raytheon Company and BAE Systems Bofors.
Besides N5, Raytheon has developed other variants such as the laser-guided Excalibur S, Excalibur HTK and Excalibur Shaped Charged Trajectory.
Last year, BAE Systems and Leonardo also announced new precision-guided ammunition that could see the effective firing range of the Mk 45 naval gun tripled, the same gun that will be fitted to the Type 26 Frigate.
Last year, BAE received a $245 million contract from the Ministry of Defence to provide the gun system, known as the Maritime Indirect Fires System (MIFS), for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship. Under the contract, the company will manufacture three MIFS Integrated Gunnery Systems (IGS) and one trainer system for the UK Royal Navy. The MIFS IGS includes the 5-inch, 62-caliber Mk 45 Mod 4 Naval Gun System, along with an automated ammunition handling system, gun fire control system, and qualified ammunition.
Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems said:
“As a leading global provider and integrator of all major caliber weapon systems, we are expertly positioned to integrate mission-driven, advanced, and affordable munitions like Vulcano into land and naval gun systems.”
Gianpiero Lorandi, managing director at Leonardo Defence Systems said:
“The Vulcano long-range guided ammunition family — part of the Leonardo’s global offer of naval, land-based, and aeronautical weapon systems for customers worldwide — represents state-of-the-art technology with its unmatched range, accuracy, and effectiveness, which was successfully demonstrated in testing. Not only is it compatible with 155-mm land and 5-inch naval gun systems, Vulcano can also be easily integrated into current and future platforms such as the AGS — a major benefit.”
John Perri, business development director for advanced weapons at BAE Systems was quoted in DefenseNews:
“With this product, we can achieve a maximum range approaching three times the range of standard ballistic ammunition from the Mk 45 gun, which is in use with the US Navy and 11 other navies around the world.”
BAE say that the Mk 45 Mod 4 currently has a range of more than 20 nautical miles (36 km).
“Starting with DDG 81, Mk 45 Mod 4 is being forward-fit to US Navy DDG 51 Class destroyers. Other Mod 4 applications include installations for the fleets of South Korea, Japan and Denmark.”
Deliveries of the gun to the UK are expected to begin in 2020.
Joe Senftle, Vice President and General Manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems, said last year:
“Our teams in the US and UK will bring unrivalled skills and expertise to the MIFS development and production. The world-leading Mk 45 will provide the Royal Navy with a proven, reliable, and highly-effective system that is adaptable to firing a wide range of today’s ammunition, as well as future, precision-guided munitions currently in development.”
The Mk 45 is in service with the US Navy and 10 other allied nations. More than 240 Mk 45 guns have been delivered into service globally.