Right on target

Precision-guided projectiles are playing an important role

extended range, high probability one-shot capability

PERM provides U.S. Marines with an extended range, high probability one-shot capability to reach enemy artillery, command and control centers, and other targets. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

When it comes to keeping ground troops safe, close enough isn’t good enough. That’s where precision-guided projectiles come in.

Raytheon has introduced the new Precision Extended Range Munition, or PERM, a guided projectile designed for the U.S. Marines. PERM is a small, smart, precision mortar that’s tube-launched and uses GPS guidance. It has double the range of current ballistic mortars and its capabilities help reduce collateral damage.

While PERM is just being fielded, the Excalibur is a revolutionary cannon artillery projectile that’s been fired hundreds of times in combat. Excalibur can also engage targets precisely at long ranges, while avoiding collateral damage.

“When ground troops fire a PERM or Excalibur, there’s no doubt they will hit the target,” said Mark Hokeness, Raytheon Excalibur and PERM program director. “They are proven time and time again in combat and in testing."

The Excalibur 155 mm precision-guided, extended-range projectile

The Excalibur 155 mm precision-guided, extended-range projectile is the revolutionary artillery round used in theater today by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Excalibur has been deployed to the U.S. and to several other countries around the world, including Sweden, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. Other international partners are finalizing procurement plans.

The Excalibur projectile has been tested and proven compatible in multiple systems, including the M777, M109 series, M198, the Archer and PzH2000. It’s also been fired from the AS90, K9 and G6 howitzers.

Before Excalibur made its mark on the battlefield, ground troops were much more reliant on close air support, which was not always readily available. 

“Excalibur is the only long-range, precision-fires weapon that a commander can call on 24/7,” said Paul Daniels, an Excalibur and PERM business development manager.

The projectile is GPS-guided. “It doesn’t matter if there’s a sandstorm or a rainstorm, Excalibur is effective in all weather conditions,” Daniels said.

Raytheon is building on Excalibur’s legacy, developing a five-inch variant called the Excalibur N5. The sea-based variant is expected to more than triple the maximum range of conventional five-inch munitions and will provide the same accuracy as the land-based version.

The company has also successfully demonstrated a laser-guided version of the projectile, the Excalibur S. This variant has the ability to redirect in flight in case the target moves.

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Excalibur N5 fired from 5-inch naval gun during testing

The U.S. Marine Corps has closed a deal with Raytheon to ready PERM for its use by mortar crews.

Like Excalibur, it’s a precision-guided projectile; however, PERM is tube launched, so the weapon can be used in confined spaces.

“It’s precise," Hokeness said. "It’s long range. It’s effective.” 

Published On: 03/14/2016
Last Updated: 10/10/2018