Raytheon successfully fired its Excalibur N5 127mm precision-guided projectile from a naval 5-inch gun in a recent guided live fire test at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, according to a company press release.
“Excalibur N5’s range, precision and lethality will revolutionize naval gunfire and increase the offensive firepower of our Navy’s destroyers and cruisers,” said Duane Gooden, vice president of Raytheon’s Land Warfare Systems product line. “This demonstration showcases the N5’s maturity as a proven low-risk solution, and is ready for the Navy now.”
“We continue to build on Excalibur’s unmatched reliability and performance by investing in a fire-and-forget, dual-mode seeker that will vastly improve the 5-inch gun’s current ASuW and counter-FAC capability.”
The Excalibur N5 is a Raytheon-funded initiative to take the core elements of the Excalibur 155mm precision-guided munition and shrink them down into a 127mm/5-inch shell while retaining the original capabilities and reliability. Raytheon had been the lead on the Navy’s Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM) until the program was cancelled in 2008 under mounting cost and reliability issues. Raytheon’s proven 155mm Excalibur round has been fired more than 770 times in combat, and serves the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and several international militaries.
The rocket-boosted Excalibur N5 would triple the range of existing naval 5-inch shells with the precision accuracy of the existing Excalibur 1b, which would be a revolutionary capability for naval gunfire support ashore, anti-surface warfare, and countering fast attack craft. The extended range and accuracy of the rounds could allow precision-guided gunfire from over the horizon at a fraction of the cost of employing cruise missiles launched from naval vessels or air-launched standoff weapons.
Raytheon is also developing a dual-mode seeker for the Excalibur N5 that would allow the round to guide on a target being lased from the ground or air while as well as retain its GPS guidance capability.
“With the significant amount of re-use from the Army’s Excalibur program, the N5 provides the Navy with an affordable, direct path to employ a critical capability,” said Gooden. “We continue to build on Excalibur’s unmatched reliability and performance by investing in a fire-and-forget, dual-mode seeker that will vastly improve the 5-inch gun’s current ASuW and counter-FAC capability.”