Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) and Northrop Grumman have signed a ten-year partnership agreement on precision-guided enhanced range artillery ammunition.
The agreement was signed in February this year, but announced today by Rheinmetall, which said that over the next decade, the two companies plan to cooperate together in order to offer forward-looking ammunition technology to the international market, including the United States, to support future artillery operations.
The partnership will focus, above all, on achieving an enhanced range 155 mm artillery round fitted with an integrated M1156 precision guidance kit (PGK), as well as on developing a new 155 mm projectile with an improved integrated propulsion system.
In service with a number of armed forces, the M1156 PGK is an inexpensive, immediately available means of enhancing the accuracy of existing types of artillery ammunition, Rheinmetall said. In combination with Rheinmetall’s V-LAP (Velocity Enhanced Artillery Projectile) projectile, which currently achieves the longest maximum range of any conventional artillery projectile, the M1156 PGK results in a swiftly available solution, proven in numerous combat operations, for long-range precision-guided munitions, Rheinmetall added.
The longest range ever attained by a conventional artillery projectile currently stands at 76 kilometres, achieved in 2019 at the Alkantpan test range with a non-NATO Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMOU)-conforming 52-calibre gun and RDM 155 mm projectile.
“The armed forces of more than twelve nations now use enhanced range Rheinmetall artillery ammunition from South Africa. The integration of tried-and-tested technologies results in a quick increase in capabilities and combat power. Furthermore, other NATO nations and non-JBMOU users can adopt this solution based on Rheinmetall’s existing artillery portfolio,” the company said.
Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman conducted testing of the V-LAP projectile variants and PGK in South Africa early in 2021, and are intending to demonstrate it later at the US Army proving ground in Yuma, Arizona.