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3-6 FA fires Excalibur round for first time ever at NTC

September 20, 2012

By Staff Sgt. Kenneth A. Foss

FORT IRWIN, Calif. --The days of training at the National Training Center start drawing to a close, but the training is just heating up for Soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI). The artillerymen wake up before sunrise to make preparations for a special mission; today they are firing the Excalibur field artillery round.

The Excalibur projectile is a 155 mm, GPS-guided round that uses free-spinning fins, with other systems set in place, to guide it to its target with significantly more accurate results than other 155 mm rounds.

"Today our mission was to execute Excalibur shoot and make sure it's doable and get the precision-guided munition down range," said 1st Lt. Andrew Brown, 2nd Platoon, A Battery, 3-6 FA. "We had a plywood house built up with a target inside. We had a 10-digit grid, and from about 14 clicks (kilometers) out, we hit the target dead on."

This technologically advanced piece of weaponry can dramatically mitigate the chance of fratricide and collateral damage by allowing artillerymen, and the systems they use, to have control over the round after it exits the barrel of the massive howitzer. Very slight modifications to its trajectory, while in its long flight period, change its point of impact by the meter.

"With the self-locating capability, it's more accurate with our rounds," Brown said. "What it brings to the fight is pinpoint accuracy. It really minimizes the chance of fratricide."

From sun up to firing time, Soldiers of A Battery were full of excitement and anticipation. This was the first time the Warrior Brigade had ever fired the Excalibur round.

For many artillerymen, this brings a sense of pride to the fight.

"Having the opportunity to be the platoon leader and working with bringing that weapon system to the fight and supporting the maneuver units, it definitely gives you a sense of achievement; it's been a blast. I couldn't have asked for a better platoon to come out with," Brown said.

"I like to be the trigger man. We need more Excalibur rounds," said Pvt. Joquan Mabine, artilleryman with 3-6 FA.

Months of training and preparation led up to this day, and after firing the Excalibur for the first time, Soldiers of A Battery hope this will not be the last.



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