Spanish Army completes live fire tests of M982 Excalibur 155mm precision shells

According to InfoDefensa on October 29, 2023, the Spanish Army conducted live-fire tests of the M982 Excalibur 155mm precision-guided artillery shells. These tests involved both the SIAC 155/52 towed howitzer and the M1905 A5 155mm self-propelled howitzer, concluding an extensive training program in which military personnel from the Artillery Support Command (MACA) received specialized training in the United States on the Excalibur system.
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The live-fire tests of the M982 Excalibur 155mm precision-guided artillery shells involved both the SIAC 155/52 towed howitzer and the M1905 A5 155mm self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source: MACA)

As reported on October 25, 2023, these tests aimed to assess the compatibility of Excalibur munitions with Spanish artillery equipment, marking a significant step in the Spanish Army's artillery modernization efforts. The Artillery Support Command (MACA) played a key role in acquiring and training personnel in the Excalibur system, and they will be the initial users of this advanced ammunition. The Spanish Army plans to expand its usage beyond MACA in the future, with an emphasis on potential integration within their artillery units.

The Spanish Army's acquisition of 250 Excalibur 155mm ammunition, which took place over the past two years, included not only the advanced projectiles but also the auxiliary equipment required for calculating and transmitting firing data, a crucial component for the precise use of these munitions. The Spanish Army emphasizes the importance of using target acquisition systems alongside Excalibur munitions to maintain the required level of accuracy for guided projectiles and to reduce the risk of collateral damage.

Developed by American defense companies Raytheon and BAE Systems Bofors, the Excalibur munition enhances artillery capabilities. It has a range of approximately 40 to 55 km and a circular error probability of about five meters. Its multifunctional fuse allows for precise programming in terms of timing, proximity, or delay, while foldable sliding fins contribute to the extended range and arched trajectory of the projectile.

One unique feature of the Excalibur munition is its GPS-guided system, enabling the projectile to adjust its trajectory in flight, allowing it to target concealed objectives. This capability ensures precise targeting even in complex scenarios where traditional artillery may struggle to reach the target accurately.

The M982 Excalibur munition is designed to extend the effective range of artillery systems, offering precision and reliability. It is known for its accuracy, consistently achieving target hits within a radius of less than two meters. The Excalibur munition significantly extends the range of various artillery systems, allowing .39-caliber artillery to reach 40 km, .52-caliber artillery to achieve a range of 50 km, and .58-caliber artillery to cover a distance of up to 70 km. In practical terms, one Excalibur munition can achieve what would typically require at least ten conventional munitions.

Additionally, the Excalibur munition offers various specialized variants to meet specific operational requirements. These include the Excalibur 1B, featuring Enhanced Shaped Trajectory (EST) software for precise targeting of hard-to-reach locations. The Excalibur HTK includes an armor-penetrating warhead and employs the StormBreaker smart weapon design, enabling it to autonomously locate and engage moving or imprecisely located targets. Furthermore, the Excalibur S variant uses a digital semi-active laser seeker, enhancing its capability to engage moving targets and strike accurately even without precise location information, reducing vulnerability to GPS jamming. Finally, the sea-based Excalibur N5 variant offers naval forces an extended range for 5-inch munitions while maintaining the same level of accuracy as its land-based counterparts.