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Home Technology Army builds new 18.6-mile-range tank-killing weapon

Army builds new 18.6-mile-range tank-killing weapon


What if a Russian armored automobile column had been approaching for assault, maneuvering between mountains about 15km (9.32 miles) away as they got here ahead? On the similar time, the U.S. Army sees the approaching pressure with surveillance drones however has no armed air assist.

Massive rockets just like the Army’s Guided A number of Launch Rocket System, a GPS guided weapon in a position to hit targets out to 70km (43.5 miles), may trigger too massive of an explosion provided that the enemy pressure is shifting by populated city areas. A smaller, long-range armor-penetrating weapon is likely to be wanted — a tank killer with extra vary than a TOW (Tube-launched, Optically Tracked, Wire Guided) or Javelin missile.

With this sort of situation in thoughts, the U.S. Army and Raytheon are engaged on a newly configured tank-killing “Shaped Charge” 155m precision-guided artillery spherical as a part of a large-scale strategic try and outrange enemies and destroy approaching enemy armored columns at safer standoff ranges.

The new weapon represents an exponential leap past current state-of-the-art anti-tank weapons such because the TOW and Javelin missiles; the Javelin reaches ranges as much as 2.5 miles and the TOW missile can hit targets out to three,000 meters (9,842.5 toes). The Excalibur “shaped charge” brings a completely new anti-tank weapon, in a position to attain so far as 30km (18.64 miles). Senior Army weapons builders clarify that extending ground-war assault ranges modifications a number of the conventional parts of Mixed Arms Maneuver technique.

“Combined Arms allows us to close with and destroy an enemy. It requires armor, infantry and combat aviation to work together in a synchronized fashion. If we lose this synchronization we are far less lethal. If an enemy has range, he can separate the combined arms team. Our adversaries have watched us and learned how we fight. They have invested in areas to offset our advantage,” Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, director, Lengthy Vary Precision Fires Cross Purposeful Workforce, Army Futures Command, informed me in an interview.


The new GPS-guided “shaped charge” Excalibur spherical brings extraordinarily vital tactical and strategic benefits for attacking floor forces, by engineering a particular armor-destroying warhead.

U.S. Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), fire the TOW missile system during a live fire at Fort Campbell, Ky. Oct. 24, 2018 - file photo.

“We took a standard 155 and took the unitary warhead out, which explodes as fragments. We replaced it with a shaped charge. Instead of a spray out of projectiles, it can defeat armored vehicles by putting a hot jet through metal,” Shawn Ball, Excalibur enterprise improvement lead, Raytheon, informed me in an interview.

Curiously, the rising “Shaped Charge” may additionally have the ability to attain so far as 70km  sooner or later, as Excalibur can also be being fired from the Army’s rising Prolonged Vary Cannon Artillery (ERCA) weapons program; it’s the solely projectile to strike a goal exactly at greater than 60km (37.28 miles), as demonstrated in a March 6, 2020 take a look at.

Gen. John Murray, commanding common of Army Futures Command, informed me in regards to the success of the current take a look at, saying “an Excalibur shot hit 63km [39.1 miles]. It pretty much doubled the range.”


The ERCA gun makes use of an extended, 58-caliber cannon to fireplace 155m rounds so far as 70km. Till ERCA, current 155m Excalibur had been fired from 39-caliber tubes on the U.S. Army’s cell M777 towed howitzer or the M109A7 Palladin self-propelled howitzer or the 52 caliber tubes on the Army’s worldwide companions’ weapons similar to Sweden’s Archer, and The Netherlands’ PzH2000.

“The 58 caliber is about 30-foot long. It has a bigger chamber, which allows for a different propellant and different breech. Muzzle velocity is generated through the length of the tube,” Rafferty mentioned.

Lately, Raytheon continues to work on a group of new Excalibur rounds as properly, to incorporate a laser-guided “S” round, a variant able to detecting and homing on targets autonomously, which features a payload to defeat armored automobiles, and a 5-inch version of Excalibur to be used in Navy deck-mounted 5-inch weapons.

Army senior leaders have been clear that the intent of the hassle is to regain tactical overmatch in opposition to Russian and Chinese language weapons. Citing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “wake-up call,” senior Army leaders persistently say that Russian weaponry, ways and warfare integration are inflicting explicit concern.


Army senior leaders have persistently pointed to Russian land-war ways in Ukraine as a part of the inspirational foundation for the U.S. Army’s present transfer to enhance land-based firepower. The Army’s 2015 Fight Automobile Modernization Technique particularly cites issues about Russia’s use of superior weapons and armored automobiles in Ukraine.


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