Guided missile M982 «Excalibur: the history of creation and development capabilities

The extensive use of precision instruments (WTO) was the key to victory in the military conflicts of the last decades, and its rich development is the general line of development of the means of warfare in the leading countries of the world.

With all of this if you have previously used the WTO in the main aircraft, then nedavneshnih been significant efforts have been made for the creation of precision-guided munitions for field artillery firing from concealed positions.

From designing to manufacturing

Now this area has been achieved harsh success. Namely, in the course of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans are often fire guided missiles from the MLRS MLRS. In the development of 155-mm M982 guided missile "Excalibur» (Excalibur — the title of the famous sword of King Arthur) as a breakthrough there, and it began in the 90s.

Then the control of the Pentagon decided by gallakticheskoy navigation system (KRNS) "Navstar" to improve the accuracy of hits 155-mm artillery shells cluster (CAS) with the shaped-charge fragmentation submunitions (KOBE) set up for the purposes of destruction slabobronirovannyh, first artillery and combat vehicles for various purposes. At that time the programm was named ERDPICT (Enhanced-Rang Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition). In 1996, the charge of its implementation of the project manager is assigned to the creation of the CAS with the fighting elements of a clear sight (BETP) SADARM (Sense And Destroy ARMor).

First, in 1997 were formulated new requirements for CAS with KOBE: the largest range projectile with a bottom or mid-flight engine gas generator should be more than 45 km, ammo to equip 72 or 85 M42/M46 KOBE KOBE HM80.

In January 1998, a contract was signed for the execution of development work on CAS HM982. It was assumed that the scheduled distance of the projectile will overcome thanks to gliding flight, which will make a special aerodynamic shape and the four-part tail weapon.

Apart from the CAS to CAS KOBE involves the development of a BETP SADARM (XM982 Block II) and high-explosive projectile (CFC) betonoboynymi acts (XM982 Block III). Terms of the contract to anticipate the release in 2001 of small lots of shells of all 3 types.

Meanwhile, in 2001, at the Pentagon come to the conclusion that the U.S. military did not initially need a cluster munition, and concrete-CFC with the index Increment 1. CAS with BETP as previously seen as a second version of the projectile index Increment 2. The third option is a munition c seeker with an index Increment 3. So Makar, designing CAS with Kobe was discontinued, and the main task of the developers was to create a means for destroying buildings, including fortified command pt.

It is possible that the failure of the CAS with Kobe was caused by a significant drawback — a significant modicum of unexploded pieces after they fall to the ground: a range of up to 10 km — two per cent higher than 10 — more than 3 percent. Housing HM982 is not intended to equip the South American four-quadrant plumage and vosmisektsionnym Swedish, created for the projectile TCM (Trajectory Correction Munition), and a bottom gasifier.

In 2003, due to the multiple technical neuvvyazkami in the U.S. Department of Defense decided on a phased development of the munition. Making his first option involves two steps — 1a and 1b. During the first substage shell Designed in 2-versions — 1a-1 and 1a-2. Version 1a-1 is simplified so that it can be allowed as faster to produce and supply ammunition to the troops. Requirements that apply to different variants XM982 1a in 2003, are presented in Table 1. Increased attention was paid to the reduction of prices of the projectile.

Table 1

For the second version of the weapon in connection with the termination of the 2001 programs from SADARM as combat troops clearly aiming considered zabugornye their counterparts. Development of a third embodiment of the projectile, since 2005, is funded separately. So Makar, the focus was concentrated on the development of programs from concrete-managed projectile HM982 Increment 1.

In June 2005, an agreement was signed for the creation of 140 shells 1a HM982-1 (the price of each — 144 thousand dollars) for March of next year. But because of the problems are found during the tests first ammunition began to arrive only in September, and the fire managed to spend only first 2007. In the same year, planned to buy two lots HM982 1a-1: 321 shell — at a cost of 153 thousand dollars and 224 shells — at a cost of 120 thousand dollars per unit, respectively.

Operational use and prospects

In April 2007, north of Baghdad HM982 1a-1 for the first time shot on the real enemy. In May — August in Iraq, the Americans have spent a few more of the same shells. The deviation from the goal does not exceed 4 meters. But in Afghanistan ammunition did not show the expected highest efficiency, so that the total production of the projectile version 1a was not 30 thousand, and the 6264 one.

The first batch of options 1a HM982-2 in the amount of 362 pieces made in 2008, has 458 — in 2009. In October 2010 version of the projectile 1a-2 was given the code M982 and in 2011 was planned to deploy a full-scale production of ammunition.

In September 2008, the Pentagon has concluded a contract for R & D to create a version of Increment 1b Excalibur. The main requirement for the developers is to lower prices projectile. He should possess the subsequent features: radial possible deviation (CEP) — less than 10 meters when used without interference KRNS, 30 meters — interference criteria, the maximum firing range — 35-40 km, small — 3-8, reliable performance — more than 0, 9, guaranteed penetration of concrete width of 10-20 cm

As we see, the requirements for the projectile range of fire and security after 12 years of development not only not tightened and visibly softened. Achieved characteristics for the embodiment 1a and 1b an embodiment of requirements in 2008 are shown in Table 2.

Table 2

Preliminary tests variant 1b is scheduled for the third quarter of 2012, and the completion of the development is scheduled for 2014 year. According to the creators of ammunition, it should provide a bottom gasifier, thanks to the introduction of new technical solutions will differ lowest price. We propose two versions of the projectile 1b: 1st (Saber) — with the engine mid-flight, its range reaches 48 km, the second — with a new tail assembly of the titanium bottom gasifier (version 1a), capable of hitting a target at a distance up to 45 km .

For this design differ fundamentally shell 1a and 1b are in the following. The tail part of option 1a rotates relative to the housing and a lid with the shot. In an embodiment of the bottom part of the shell 1b motionless, protective coatings for the empennage is not provided. The data for the traffic control system shell 1a introduced before firing in a constant memory. 1b is meant for external use will reprogram the device, making it possible to change the temper the impact of the munition to the target during its flight. Software M982 projectile with an index Increment 3 should independently determine the rational point of aim, a trajectory of the flight and the method of detonation. It may be that option 1b will have the following types of equipment: smoke, thermobaric, lighting and non-lethal act. It is planned to use the laser seeker and bring the capacity to attack targets in the given time.

Development M982
proved to be more costly and time-consuming than anticipated. In the production of 30 thousand shells was expected that the cost of each of them will be at the level of 75 thousand dollars, taking into account the costs of research and development. In reality, it was twice as much. The work lasts and, as it should, the cost and price of ammunition grow, which can lead to at least reduce the number of purchased products.

In the process of fighting the introduction of "Excalibur" and found a number of shortcomings. Accuracy with a projectile is dependent on the strength of ties more than once with 3 gallakticheskimi devices. It is not good point is also an indispensable presence in the equipment howitzers special equipment for the preparation of ammunition to fire, as it is significantly different from similar actions in the management of standard fire projectiles.

Despite the fact that the M982 officially put into service, its entry into force and implementation of the general in battle can be expected no earlier than 2014-2015. Fundamentally see that only finalized first embodiment projectile which satisfies the requirements smallest. It is possible that a munition with the index 1b, meets all the requirements of the customer, will be exclusively in 2015.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the creators of 155mm precision projectile M982 faced with the harsh scientific and technical neuvvyazkami, which is tightened creation new ammunition and increased its cost. It is at this point is equal to price of conventional FFS 120-150. Perhaps the "Excalibur" may go down in value, but not to supplant the last of the ammunition field artillery pieces.

"Bite" the cost of high-precision shells means that they will be used on critical areas and to destroy some important goals (team Fri, infrastructure) are also in the criteria for when to avoid inline destruction and death of persons not involved in armed conflict.

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