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Video Above: Lieutenant Colonel, Scott Rutter on Russian Tanks and Javelin Missiles

The Ukrainians may be getting GPS-guided precision artillery rounds which could bring unprecedented attack possibilities and targeting technology to those defending against the Russian invasion.

GPS-Guided Precision Artillery Rounds

There have been many public statements about Ukraine receiving 155mm Howitzer artillery systems which gives Ukrainian fighters a previously unavailable opportunity to destroy Russian targets from stand-off distances in advance of attacks. 

However, what about ammunition? Are they getting the Raytheon-built GPS-guided Excalibur artillery round capable of pinpointing enemy targets to within one-meter of accuracy from ranges out to 30km or more? Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby would not confirm or deny reports that Ukrainians were getting Excalibur, but did make a clear point to emphasize 155mm ammunition.

“We've talked about, you know, 155-millimeter rounds to go with those howitzers, and they continue to flow into Ukraine. I mean, between the two tranches, between PDA seven and eight you're talking about almost 190,000 rounds total of 155-millimeter artillery,” Kirby said.

While it may not be likely that Ukraine would receive some of the most cutting edge Excalibur weapons such as “shaped trajectory” round or laser-guided Excalibur S rounds, they may be receiving standard Excalibur rounds which offer GPS-guided precision targeting to Howitzers from ranges of 30 km or more. 

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155mm Howitzer

Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, fire a M777 towed 155 mm Howitzer on Qayyarah West Airfield, Iraq, Aug. 10, 2019. The Soldiers conducted a fire mission to disrupt known enemy positions. As long as Daesh presents a threat, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve remains committed to enabling its defeat. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. DeAndre Pierce)

Precision could give Ukraine a vastly improved ability to destroy harder-to-reach high-value Russian targets and specific systems and platforms identified by surveillance systems, drones and other command and control technologies.

Ukraine does appear to be getting laser-guided precision rocket systems, according to the State Department’s list, something which could offer an extremely impactful possibility to pinpoint and destroy some of Russia’s mobile command and control systems, launchers and even moving vehicles. 

Should a drone or forward-operating ground unit have the opportunity to “paint” or light up a Russian target with a laser designator, then rockets can be specifically sent to destroy precise and otherwise difficult to reach targets.

The Excalibur (XM982, M982 and M982A1) is a 155 mm, Global Positioning System (GPS)-guided, extended range artillery projectile in use as the Army’s next-generation cannon artillery precision munition. It provides improved fire support to the maneuver force commander, increases lethality and reduces collateral damage.

The Excalibur (XM982, M982 and M982A1) is a 155 mm, Global Positioning System (GPS)-guided, extended range artillery projectile in use as the Army’s next-generation cannon artillery precision munition. It provides improved fire support to the maneuver force commander, increases lethality and reduces collateral damage.

Precision also introduces the possibility of so-called decapitation strikes wherein enemy “leadership” can be targeted with precision should commanders receive new intelligence about the movements and whereabouts of Russian military leaders and other decision-makers.

Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President