February 8, 2007 The advent of precision guided munitions has completely changed the battlefield inside a few decades. Once bombs were dropped in vast numbers, as each one had a small probability of hitting its target. Then computers and advanced guidance entered the fray, and bombs became deadly accurate. Now the artillery section is getting in on the act. We reported last July that BAE had received a contract to participate in a competitive technical development program of a Precision Guidance Kit for use with Army cannon artillery ammunition which makes conventional cannon projectiles at least three times more accurate. Now the system is in testing and last month 21 155 mm projectiles were successfully fired equipped with the Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) test modules.
During the tests, BAE Systems fired M549 Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAP) to a range of about 20.5 kilometers from an M109A5 howitzer to evaluate the functional performance, stability and structural integrity of the PGK fuze. The tests demonstrated the PGK divert capability in both range and cross-range while maintaining the stability of the M549A1 RAP round. The ability to acquire GPS, calculate the navigation solution, and deploy aerodynamic brakes to adjust the trajectory were also demonstrated. Data from the tests are being used by BAE Systems to further refine its PGK design as the company prepares to deliver demonstration kits to the Army for testing, as part of the Army's Technical Development contract issued to BAE Systems in June 2006.
“Cannon artillery is playing a critical role in Iraq and Afghanistan, and BAE Systems is committed to supporting the development of a PGK solution that will give them even greater combat effectiveness,” said Jim Unterseher, BAE Systems vice president of Army Programs. “Our latest PGK successes confirm that we are on pace to deliver a mature, low risk, cost-effective and affordable system to meet the Army’s requirements for this program.”
PGK provides a near-precision accuracy capability for conventional 155 mm and 105 mm ammunition. The BAE Systems -led team, includes the company’s Bofors unit, Rockwell Collins and BT Fuze Products Division.
The structure of the current tests corresponds to the actual launch and flight environment expected during the official Army PGK technical demonstration firings that will be conducted later this year. The tests represent the latest advancement within BAE Systems’ progressive PGK development program, which has included more than 100 gun-fired and laboratory tested rounds fired in the five years since BAE Systems began its internal PGK development program that led to an award of the PGK technical development contract.
The success of the PGK further demonstrates BAE Systems’ position as a leading developer and supplier of advanced precision munitions for sea and ground forces, including a comprehensive suite of precision mortars and gun-launched medium and large caliber munitions.