U.S. Approves Sale of M982Al Excalibur Projectiles to Netherlands

The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale of 199 M982Al Excalibur Increment IB tactical projectiles and related equipment to the Netherlands.

The sale, worth an estimated $40.55 million, is being conducted through the U.S. Foreign Military Sale (FMS) program. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees FMS sales, delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on April 10.

The Government of the Netherlands has earlier requested to buy 199 Excalibur Increment IB M982Al tactical projectiles. Also included with this request is U.S. Government technical assistance, training, associated support equipment, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated program cost is $40.55 million.

The prime contractor will be the Raytheon Company, Tucson, AZ.

Excerpt from DSCA statement:

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve security of a NATO ally which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Northern Europe.

The Netherlands will integrate these munitions with conventional artillery units equipped with the PzH2000NL self-propelled howitzer (SPH) to provide precision fires capability in order to reduce collateral damage and increase effectiveness in various areas of operation. The Netherlands will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this weapon system will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

M982 Excalibur

M982 Excalibur (previously XM982) is a 155 mm extended range guided artillery shell developed by Raytheon Missile Systems (guidance system) and BAE Systems Bofors (body, base, ballistics and payload).

Excalibur has a range of approximately 40 to 57 kilometers (25 to 35 mi) depending on configuration, with a circular error probable (CEP) of around 5 meters (16 ft) to 20 meters (66 ft). It is a GPS-guided munition capable of being used in close support situations within 75–150 meters (246–492 ft) of friendly troops or in situations where targets might be prohibitively close to civilians to attack with unguided artillery fire.

The extended range is achieved through the use of folding glide fins, which allow the projectile to glide from the top of a ballistic arc towards the target.

The shell has a multi-function fuze that can be programmed to explode in the air (Air Burst), once it hits a hard surface, or after it penetrates inside a target. One Excalibur projectile can accurately hit an intended target that would require the use of between 10 and 50 unguided artillery rounds.

Guns that Excalibur is compatible with are the British AS-90 SPG, Swedish Archer Artillery System, South African G6 howitzer, United States M198, M777 Lightweight and M109A6 Paladin self-propelled 155 mm howitzers, and the German Panzerhaubitze 2000.

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