TUCSON, June 21 (UPI) -- Raytheon has received a $42.7 million order for its Excalibur precision-guided artillery shells from the U.S. Army.
The 155-millimeter Excalibur projectile uses satellite guidance and tailfins for pin-point attacks on distant targets with minimal collateral damage and less danger to close-by friendly forces.
Analysts say the high-priced shells will reach Iraq and Afghanistan in the near future, where they will offer coalition forces a rapid, precision response to contact with the enemy.
"The Army is anxious to get this capability to the troops, and this award is essential to sustain the anticipated Early Fielding program," Army Col. John Tanzi of the Training and Doctrine Command said in a news release Wednesday.
The Fiscal Year 2006 contract announced this week calls for 335 tactical rounds along with support and test items. Initial Early Fielding of the shell is being funded by the FY 2005 contract.
Raytheon said the project had been going well, with a successful culmination of several months of testing under different scenarios, including a trio of fuzing modes -- point detonate, delay and height-of-burst.
Targets included armored vehicles, simulated troop concentrations and a reinforced steel-and-concrete structure that the shell penetrated and detonated inside.
Overall, the Excalibur struck within 15 feet of the target in a dozen guided test flights.
Excalibur is the result of a joint effort between Arizona-based Raytheon and Sweden's BAE Systems Bofors.