Long Range, Short Term – Improving Army Precision Fires

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November 19, 2018 | Originally published by Date Line: November 19 on

The Program Executive Office (PEO) for Ammunition, the Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) and the Army Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) have come together with near-term plans for improving long-range precision fires.

Of the Army”s “big six” priorities driving its new modernization strategy, and long-range precision fires is at the top of the list.

The ability to execute accurate strikes at significant distances is critical to ground operations in any theater, against any adversary — especially a near-peer threat that can restrict U.S. maneuver through anti-access and area denial systems and techniques.

Now, the experts at Picatinny Arsenal, known as the Army”s Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition, and the Army RCO (the service”s acquisition shop for quickly addressing critical capability gaps) have joined forces to deliver a suite of technologies that can extend the range of cannon artillery and are mature enough for a system-level assessment in less than three years.

This effort, termed the long-range cannon project, focuses on a specific subset of fires capability and is complementary to broader initiatives pursued by the new long-range precision fires cross-functional team. The project”s objective is to assess long-range cannon capability by rapidly prototyping and equipping an artillery battery with the M777 Extended Range howitzer, a new projectile tracking system, survey device, and a rocket-assisted projectile in under three years. If successful, the long-range cannon will nearly double the range of cannon artillery for the Army and Marine Corps, thus providing an interim solution that bridges a critical capability gap while informing the development of future long-range precision fire systems.