New US$150,000 a pop Excalibur artillery shell will stop us being sorry killing Afghan women & children by ...er.. accident / mistake / carelessness
Excalibur XM982 shell ,is "smart "155mm ammunition, developed by Raytheon , BAE Systems and Bofors Defense which they describe as the "next generation" of artillery munitions.
The Excalibur uses inertial and satellite based GPS guidance ( for a 40 Kilometre flight) to execute course corrections through the flight, to achieve pinpoint targeting with an accuracy of 20m’ CEP. Excalibur is considered to be part of the Non-Line-Of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) system.
Raytheon Company a $42.7Mn production contract in June 2007 after it had demonstrated lethality against (presumably ocupied) wheeled and tracked lightly armored military systems, simulated personnel targets and a steel reinforced concrete structure.
Canada's battle group in Kandahar test fired the shell in the desert as did a US Army unit in E Afghanistan. At US$150,000 a pop they didn't say how many had been fired."It lands exactly where you want it to land," said Lt.-Col. Jim Willis, a senior officer in charge of acquiring the munitions for ther Canadian forces. (Standard HE rounds . US$2,000 a pop accuracy +/- 50 metres).
The Canadian Army have just announced that Canadian army gunners in Afghanistan are now cleared to fire GPS-guided artillery shells at Taliban militants - who are not known to travel around in APC's, tanks, armoured vehicles or have concrete and steel defense structures.
It is claimed that it will stop or at best reduce the mounting civilian death toll from air strikes in a war-torn region, where insurgents often hide among the population. A curious argument ...surely the chances of hitting the oddd passing postman on his bike is th same whether you drop precision laser guided or JDAM's or send a sooper dooper US$150,000 shell from 40 Klicks ?
It was 18 months ago, the army announced its intention to buy a handful of the experimental shells to go along with its brand new 155-millimetre M-777 howitzers.
Introducing the weapon to the army's arsenal has been slower than expected because of concerns related to the shell's performance in cold weather and precautions to make sure the GPS signals can't be jammed or scrambled by insurgents.
The system "has counter-measures built in, but obviously I can't get into the details here," said Lt.-Col. Jim Willis, "Aside from the counter-measures, it flies so quickly to a target that the chance of it being jammed is remote."
So firing Ferraris at the lightly armed, highly mobile Taliban is OK then.
See PIcatinny Arsenal report on the Excalibur round here.
Afghan Police Toys'R'Us
Here is a nice news item today from the Combine Joint Task Force in Afghanistan ...
Afghan National Police Officers from Kohe Safi District, Parwan Province visited the village of Jurahati earlier in March and handed out stuffed animals to the children as a goodwill gesture. They also provided prayer rugs to the adults. The toys were donated by Girl Scouts in Maryland and Kiwanis Club Members in New York.