U.S. Army’s ERCA Cannon Shoots M982 Excalibur, XM1113 Rounds to 65 km in Latest Demo

The U.S. Army’s Extended-Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system has test-fired M982 Excalibur and XM1113 rounds with both reaching 65-km downrange.

The latest demonstration of the XM1299 ERCA self-propelled howitzer was conducted at the Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, on March 6.

The ERCA program is investigating and developing technology to extend the range of the Army’s current 155mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH), the M109.

The prototype ERCA howitzer (XM1299) consists of a BAE Systems’ M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) howitzer chassis equipped with an Army-developed 58-caliber, 30-foot gun barrel in place of M109A7’s original 39-caliber barrel.

In July 2019, BAE Systems was awarded a $45 million contract by the Army for the ERCA Increment 1 prototype, which saw the company integrating the Army-developed ERCA onto the M109A7 chassis. The U.S. Army is reportedly on contract with BAE Systems for 18 ERCA howitzers with the fielding expected to begin in FY2023.

Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA)
M1299, a 155 mm turreted self-propelled howitzer currently being developed under the U.S. Army’s Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program.

M982 Excalibur

The Excalibur (XM982, M982 and M982A1) is a 155 mm, Global Positioning System (GPS)-guided, extended-range artillery projectile in use as the U.S. Army’s next-generation cannon artillery precision munition.

The Excalibur projectile uses a jam-resistant internal GPS receiver to update the inertial navigation system, providing precision in-flight guidance and dramatically improving accuracy to less than two meters miss distance regardless of range.

The projectile has three fuze options (point-detonation, point-detonation delay and height-of-burst) and is employable in all weather conditions and terrains. The Excalibur’s capabilities allow for first-round effects-on-target while simultaneously minimizing collateral damage and the number of rounds required to engage targets.

M982 Excalibur
M982 Excalibur 155mm Precision Guided Extended Range Artillery Projectile.

XM1113 RAP

The XM1113 RAP is a new projectile which is slated to replace the U.S. Army’s aging M549A1 High-Explosive Rocket-Assisted (HERA) 155 mm howitzer rounds, which can reach about 30 km.

The XM1113 RAP uses rocket technology to deliver greater thrust to the round when compared to its predecessor. This will enable current U.S. Field Artillery 155mm Systems to fire the XM1113 RAP to a range of 40 kilometers, a 30% increase from the M549A1. When fired from the ERCA cannon, the XM1113 is capable of achieving ranges out to 70 kilometers.

The XM113 program is a joint development between the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) and the Program Executive Office Ammunition, both located at Picatinny Arsenal. The Program Executive Ammunition is the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition that manages the complete lifecycle of all ammunition from “cradle to grave.” The round aligns with the U.S. Army’s modernization initiative under the Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) Cross-Functional Team.

The XM1113 RAP is currently planned for Limited Rate Initial Production in Fiscal Year 2022.

155mm XM1113 Rocket-Assisted Projectile (RAP)
Rendering of the 155mm XM1113 Rocket-Assisted Projectile (RAP) round being developed by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) for the U.S. Army. GD-OTS Photo.

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