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NIGHT VISION, MUNITIONS AND BALLISTICS UPDATE

Mar 10. Trials to look at the firing of American Excalibur 155mm guided shells form the British Army’s AS90 have been successful. At the same time, the U.S. Modular Artillery Charge Systems (MACS) has also been trialled in AS90 under an interoperability agreement. The trials in Arizona were supported by elements of Artillery Systems and Indirect Fire Precision Attack teams at DE&S, the Royal Artillery Trials and Development Unit (RATDU) wit scientific support by BAE Systems, Qinetiq and the US DoD. Initial trial observations show that six Excalibur rounds fired, all impacted between one and three metres from their targets. Excalibur is currently in use with coalition forces, providing a155mm precision capability t operations, while UK Fire Support Teams have already used Excalibur in support of UK operations. The now out of service M107 (green and white bag) charges have now been replaced by MACS as the in-service charge system for US 155mm indirect fire systems. M107 was the UK operational reserve charge and limited clearance is being sought to employ the new system as a reserve to be used only in extreme circumstances. Further trails are planned with the German modular charge system, to verify the benefits of a modular system and scope alternatives if any future UK requirement was to be set. Both trails are expected to report this year following analysis of the trial data. Results from both trials will then be circulated within the user and scientific community to identify potential routes for technology pull-through in future projects. (Source: MoD desider)
BATTLESPACE Comment: Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggested that the MoD was looking at the Team Complex weapon’s Loitering Munition, in preference to a guided 155mm shell. It now looks like the need for the AS90 in theatre to provide greater firepower than the 105mm has been speeded up. The next stage may be a competition between the Raytheon and ATK systems. The British Army is currently using MLRS to great effect for long range operations in Afghanistan.

Mar 10. US Army ramps up networked landmine acquisition. The US Army is moving ahead with plans to field new networked landmines and intelligent munitions intended to deny enemy forces manoeuvre space, while still allowing freedom of action for friendly forces. Both the ATK/Textron-developed Spider anti-personnel landmine and the Textron XM1100 Scorpion intelligent munitions system – designed to attack light-wheeled to heavy-tracked vehicles – were funded in the Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) budget proposal. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

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