TUCSON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Raytheon's Excalibur Ib precision guided artillery projectile has entered full rate production for the U.S. Army, the company announced.
Approval of full-rate production by the Army came with a $52 million award for continued manufacture of the shells.
"The full rate production decision is the culmination of superb teamwork between the U.S. Army and Raytheon," said Lt. Col. Josh Walsh, U.S. Army Excalibur product manager. "I am proud of the combined teams' effort that is putting the world's finest cannon artillery munition into the hands of our warfighters."
The Excalibur Ib is a 155mm projectile that is guided by GPS and can be used on targets within 500 feet of friendly troops. It was designed by Raytheon and BAE Systems Bofors.
The Army approved Excalibur Ib for Full Materiel Release and gave it a Type Classification-Standard earlier this year, meaning it had been fully tested and met eets operational performance requirements.
"International interest in Excalibur has risen sharply during the last year," said Michelle Lohmeier, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. "The Army's approval of FMR and the decision to enter full-rate production represent major milestones that many potential customers have eagerly anticipated.
"Excalibur has revolutionized cannon artillery, making it possible to engage targets precisely at long ranges while avoiding collateral damage, a capability that appeals to military leaders around the world."