Raytheon Delivers First Excalibur Production Rounds to the U.S. Army
TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 9, 2006 /PRNewswire/ -- The Raytheon Missile Systems and BAE Systems Bofors' Excalibur team delivered the first production Excalibur global positioning system-guided 155 mm artillery rounds to the U.S. Army Sept. 19, paving the way for the next series of testing required to field the weapon in theater early next year.
Final assembly of the projectiles occurred at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Okla.
"These production rounds put us closer to providing our soldiers with a cannon-launched, precision projectile to meet the needs of the rapidly evolving operational environment," said Raymond Sicignano, U.S. Army deputy product manager for Excalibur. "Excalibur's accuracy and lethality will bring the howitzer into the 21st century to provide the precision and responsiveness required for operations in heavily populated areas."
The delivery of these Excalibur rounds marks the transition of development testing to production testing and user verification. Most remaining tests are in the hands of soldiers who will fire the projectiles in simulated tactical environments with their assigned equipment. Following the successful completion of acceptance testing and limited user testing, the Army will determine if the rounds are ready for deployment in ongoing operations worldwide.
"Delivery of production Excalibur rounds to the U.S. Army is a significant step forward in the fielding of Excalibur," said Jim Riley, vice president of the Raytheon Land Combat product line. "The world's first GPS-guided artillery round is now in the hands of our soldiers for the kind of testing that only they can do. They will tell us if it is ready for combat."
These projectiles are the initial deliveries from the fiscal year 2005 contract. Deliveries from the fiscal year 2006 contract will begin in March 2007.
The Excalibur program currently is responding to an urgent request from the warfighter to accelerate fielding because of the projectile's better than 10-meter (33 feet) accuracy not available from any other artillery projectile. Because of its accuracy and increased effectiveness, Excalibur reduces the logistical burden for deployed ground forces. It also provides lower collateral damage through its concentrated fragmentation pattern, increased precision and near-vertical descent. Excalibur capability provides an essential tool for our warfighters operating in urban and complex terrain.
Excalibur produces a wide range of effects in all terrains at extended ranges and in all weather conditions. With 155 mm howitzers as part of the standard organization in current operations, Excalibur's precision effects are readily available to small-unit maneuver elements.
Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with 2005 sales of $21.9 billion, is an industry leader in defense and government electronics, space, information technology, technical services, and business and special mission aircraft. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 80,000 people worldwide.
Everett Tackett, APR
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