Country of origin
Range of fire
Excalibur is a US extended-range GPS-guided shell. It was designed
to engage stationary targets with pinpoint accuracy. It became a successor to the M712 Copperhead laser-guided
artillery projectile. Developed of a new unguided munition with
increased range started in the United
States in 1992. This projectile was jointly developed by Raytheon
and BAE Systems. Raytheon supplies guidance systems, while BAE
Systems produce body, base and payload. In 2004 development program
was merged with a joint Swedish and US program to create a guided
artillery munition. During development and trials it was known as
the XM982. The first firing trials of the Excalibur from the
lightweight field howitzer took place in 2003. Low rate initial
production of 500 rounds was approved in 2005. During development
and trials it was known as the XM982. Operational test firings of
this round from the M777A2 were completed in 2007. The M777A2
upgrade includes software which allows to use this GPS-guided
projectile. Excaliburs by that time had already been fielded in Iraq
and Afghanistan. The Excalibur was first
used operationally in Iraq in 2007. Its performance was impressive.
The rounds proved to be extremely accurate with a CEP of just 5
meters. In 2015 United States planned to procure a total of 7 474
Excaliburs. In 2016 the unit cost including development costs was
reportedly $258 777. This actually made the Excalibur more expensive
than the M777 field howitzer. By 2016 the unit cost was reduced to
$68 000. The Excalibur is used by the US Army and Marine Corps. By
2018 over 1 400 Excalibur rounds were fired in combat. This
ammunition is also in service with Sweden, Australia, Canada, India,
and the Netherlands. Norway expressed interest in obtaining these
Excalibur is compatible with 155 mm artillery systems, such as US
lightweight field howitzer,
M109A6 Paladin and
M109A7 self-propelled howitzers.
It is also compatible with other 155 mm artillery systems, such as
2000, South Korean
Type 99 and other 155 mm artillery systems.
The Excalibur has
forward-folding fins. Due to its fin stabilization this projectile
has near pinpoint accuracy. The CEP is only 5 meters or even better.
Operational experience in 2007 in Iraq revealed that 92% of the
rounds are falling within 4 meters of the target. So the Excalibur
is extremely accurate. This gives it the ability to be safely delivered in much closer
proximity to friendly troops or civilian structures than unguided projectile usually allows
for. In fact it can be used just 75-150 meters from friendly troops.
This minimizes damage to friendly forces and various civilian
programmable guidance system allows the weapon crew to set the
Excalibur to land on a specific geographic location, allowing
frontline troops calling-in fire missions to specific high-priority
targets for destruction by single projectiles (for example a
particularly problematic enemy pillbox). In addition to its GPS
guidance the Excalibur also has inertial guidance, which not only
allows the projectile to maintain its ballistic arc, even against
heavy jamming, but also allows some guidance capability when GPS is
unusable altogether (though it won't be as accurate). The Excalibur
is resistant to GPS jamming.
Excalibur round can hit a target that would otherwise require of
between 10 and 50 unguided artillery rounds.
The Excalibur uses
different types of munitions depending on the variant. The baseline
version weights 48 kg and carries a 22 kg High Explosive (HE)
The fuse can
be programmed to explode in the air, on contact with hard surface or
after it penetrates inside a target.
production version of the Excalibur, the XM982, that entered service
in 2007 had a maximum range of 23 km. Though during the same year
series production of a baseline M982 round with a maximum range of
40 km communed. The Excalibur demonstrates the 40 km range when
fired from a 155 mm/L39 weapon, such as an
lightweight field howitzer or
M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer.
M982A1 is a
reduced cost mass production round. It seems that it entered service
in 2016. It has the same capabilities as the M982 round.
is an improved version with an added semi-active laser guidance. It
can engage moving targets, or targets that have repositioned after
firing. Development of this munition was initiated by Raytheon in
2013 as a private venture.
is a smaller 127 mm version of the Excalibur S. It was specially
designed for naval guns, used on destroyers and cruisers.
EST (Excalibur Shaped Trajectory) is a version, which can approach
the target at an angle. It was demonstrated in 2018 and deployed
GP155B is a
Chinese copy of the Excalibur.