The firing of the Excalibur rounds took place as part of the army’s training procedure. A precision guided kit was also tested

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army for the first time fired the US origin precision guided Excalibur ammunition using the M777 Ultra Light Howitzer at Pokhran on Monday, boosting its capability to hit targets with accuracy at long distances inside Pakistan.

The firing of the Excalibur rounds took place as part of the army’s training procedure. A precision guided kit, which is attached to a shell to give it accuracy when fired, was also tested. Officials said these were the two types of ammunition fired for the first time to hone the army’s skills. The precision guided kit has also been procured from the US.

“Today @adgpi conducted test-firing of the newly acquired US Excalibur precision guided munitions at Pokhran…a new capability that will integrate with the US-origin M777 Ultralight Howitzer,” the US Embassy in India posted on Twitter.
The firing was also witnessed by senior army leadership. A senior official said that the firing analysis is awaited and should come within the next few days.

The army had inducted the Excalibur rounds in October under the fast track procedure owing to the delegation of financial powers to the Vice Chiefs of the three defence services.

The ammunition can be used in all the existing 155mm calibre artillery guns in the army’s inventory. These include the M777s, K-9 Vajra, Dhanush and Bofors. The Excalibur is a ‘true precision weapon, impacting at a radial miss distance of less than two meters from the target’, the manufacturer, Raytheon, a US defence company said on its website. Having a range of 40km to 50 km, the round provides accurate firing in all weather conditions.

The army has procured two types of Excalibur rounds- one which has an accuracy of hitting up to two metres from the target and the other having it at 20 metres. There are more than 600 rounds of both types in the army’s inventory. The round can be exploded in the air or after it penetrates a structure. The ammunition provides the army the capability to hit critical targets across the border in Pakistan. This coupled with new guns such as the M777s and K-9 Vajra builds the army’s artillery firepower capabilities against its adversaries.

This comes in the backdrop of regular cross border firing between the armies of India and Pakistan, where the latter uses artillery guns. The ammunition is also being used by US forces.