By Fox News. When a precision-guided artillery projectile exploded an enemy target from 64km (39.8 miles) away in the Arizona desert during a recent live-fire exercise, the Army took a new step toward redefining land-attack tactics and paving the way toward a new warfare era in long-range fires.
In a March 2020 demonstration firing of the emerging Long Range Precision Fires program at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., an Army Howitzer blasted an Excalibur 155m artillery round out to ranges twice that of what existing artillery weapons are now capable of. The new weapon in development, called Extended Range Cannon Artillery, not only preserves the GPS-guided precision attack options characteristic of present-day artillery, but also extends attack ranges from roughly 30km (18.6 miles) out to nearly 70km (43.5 miles). This, senior Army weapons developers explain, gives ground artillery commanders the ability to destroy previously unreachable air and ground targets.
“It enables commanders to attack their fight differently, provides them a number of weapon systems besides attack helicopters and unmanned aerial systems to go after targets that are further down the battlefield, deeper as we like to call it, in the battlefield,” Gen. Joseph Martin, vice chief of staff of the Army, told reporters following the demo.
The new ERCA cannon, fired from a prototype self-propelled howitzer called the M1299, features a longer barrel and new, self-described “super-charged” propellant. The first operational systems are slated for delivery to the Army by 2023.
Martin explained that the service is now evaluating the operational concept of how this new weapon will be integrated and deployed, given that it naturally gives commanders new attack options that impact developing combat tactics and strategies. (Read more from “New Helicopter-Killing Army Artillery Cannon Destroys Target at 39.8 Miles” HERE)
The Marines Are Fielding Their Impressive New Grenade Launcher
By Popular Mechanics. The U.S. Marine Corps is nearly finished rolling out the service’s new grenade launcher, one that improves on a previous model in practically every way. The M320 grenade launcher can be fired as a standalone weapon or attached to the underside of a M4A1 carbine rifle.
For decades, the U.S. military has relied on the M203 launcher to lob grenades beyond throw range. The M203, fitted underneath the barrel of a M16 rifle or M4 carbine, allowed grenadiers to launch high explosive dual purpose (HEDP) grenades to a range of 150 meters against point targets, including armored vehicles or building windows, or 350 meters against area targets like advancing enemy troops. Unlike its predecessor, the M79, the M203 gave soldiers the ability to use both a grenade launcher and a rifle. . .
The M320 can be fitted with a shoulder stock or mounted underneath the barrel of a M4A1 carbine. As Military.com explains, the older M203 launcher was loaded from the bottom of the breech, something that made loading while prone more difficult, while the newer M320 is loaded from the side. This also ensures that a dud round manually ejected doesn’t fall straight to the ground. The M320 can accept longer grenades, particularly flare and illumination types.
The M320 can launch the new Pike laser guided grenade, which is effective against personnel and enemy vehicles to ranges of up to 2 kilometers (2,187 yards). The Pike can also be set to fly through windows and doorways, exploding among enemy soldiers taking cover. (Read more from “The Marines Are Fielding Their Impressive New Grenade Launcher” HERE)