Raytheon has fired four Excalibur 155 mm precision-guided artillery projectiles from the Denel-manufactured G6 self-propelled howitzer as part of a field trial demonstration for an undisclosed customer.
Multiple rounds of the combat-proven Excalibur were successfully fired from the G6 155 mm wheeled howitzer out to a range of 38 kilometers (23.6 miles), with all rounds landing within 5 meters (16.4 feet) of the target, Raytheon said in a statement.
“These trials demonstrated Excalibur can give a true precision capability to G6 howitzers that can enhance the warfighter’s defensive posture,” said Kevin Matthies, Excalibur program director for Raytheon Missile Systems. “Excalibur improves tactical war fighting capability by providing precision that is essential to close-combat operations.”
Fielded in 2007, the Excalibur 155 mm precision-guided, extended-range projectile is in theatre use by the US Army and Marine Corps. Using GPS precision guidance technology, Excalibur projectiles impact at a radial miss distance of 6 meters from the target. Canada also uses them in Afghanistan, where their precision accuracy is useful in built-up areas.
Raytheon was not allowed to disclose whom they were testing the Excalibur ammunition for, but it is known that the United Arab Emirates and Oman use the G6, in addition to South Africa.
Based on the G5 developed in South Africa, the 155mm G6 is an accurate, long range self-propelled gun able to hit targets 30 to more than 65 km away at a rate of fire of six rounds per minute.
The six-wheeled G6 has the ability to reach speeds of 85 km per hour on roads and 35 km per hour in off-road conditions. It can traverse terrain to a gradient of 40 degrees and cross trenches of up to one metre.
The G6 is served by a crew of between 3 and 5, which includes the driver, commander, gun layer, ammunition loader and breech operator. The on-board gyro-controlled navigation system enables the gun to be brought into action within 60 seconds of stopping and it can move off within 30 seconds after firing.
The armoured turret and hull provide protection against small arms fire and shell splinters while the chassis can withstand multiple landmine explosions.
“The G6 was ahead of its time when it was first launched in 1987,” said Stephan Burger, the CEO of Denel Land Systems, which manufactures the G6. “Through our continuous research and investment in the gun we have ensured it remains ahead of the pack as the most versatile and reliable artillery system in its class.”
The upgraded G6-52 was first launched in 2003 and is continuously being modified to “remain at the front of the pack” in modern artillery systems.