(Washington, D.C.) Enemies hiding under a bridge, bunkered down on a specific floor in a large building, seeking cover on the back side of a mountain ridge or moving to attack in an armored vehicle convoy --- are all now more vulnerable to U.S. strikes due to an emerging laser-guided artillery round that can destroy enemy targets on the move in combat.
“We have many different experiments that are going on for long-range precision fires. We’re looking at new mobile firepower capabilities,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin told Warrior in an interview last Fall.
The laser-guided Raytheon-developed weapon is an upgrade or adaptation to the well-known, GPS-guided Excalibur 155mm round first fired in Iraq more than 10 years ago. Using GPS and Inertial measurement precision guidance technology, Excalibur can pinpoint and eliminate targets from 40km from current U.S. Howitzers -- within just two-meters of accuracy. The combat debut of Excalibur in Iraq ushered in what could be called a land-war transformation, marking the advent of a new kind of precision land attack.
Prior to precision-guided land artillery, 155m rounds were typically imprecise attack weapons used as area fire to blanket certain enemy areas, enabling forces to maneuver while under enemy fire. GPS-guided weapons from the air, such as Joint Direct Attack Munitions, had been in existence for well over a decade before Excalibur; Excalibur brought an at the time unprecedented measure of precision attack to land warfare.