Cannon artillery to get precision guidance too
July 6, 2006 The advent of precision guided munitions has completely changed the battlefield inside a few decades. Once bombs were dropped in vast numbers, as each one had a small probability of hitting its target. once computers and advanced guidance entered the fray, bombs became deadly accurate. Now the artillery section is getting in on the act. BAE has received a contract from U.S. Army Combat Ammunition Systems to participate in a competitive technical development program of a Precision Guidance Kit for use with Army cannon artillery ammunition. The guidance kit is a low-cost system that will improve the accuracy of conventional 105 mm and 155 mm artillery projectiles. The BAE Systems-led team received the award after demonstrating a two-directional precision guidance kit solution referred to as the Course Correcting Fuze (CCF). The fitting of the low-cost CCF kit makes conventional cannon projectiles at least three times more accurate.
The BAE Systems-led team, which includes the company's Bofors unit, Rockwell Collins and L3 Communications BT Fuze Products Division, received the award after successfully completing an internally funded project to demonstrate a two-directional precision guidance kit solution referred to as the BAE Systems Course Correcting Fuze (CCF). In 2005, BAE Systems conducted a successful firing-to-impact, gun-fired demonstration of the CCF system, marking the first time a two-directional precision guidance kit had been successfully demonstrated in a gun-fired environment by either government or industry. The contract award also includes priced options for follow-on system development and demonstration and initial production phases. "Highly accurate artillery is critical to the success of today's war fighters," said Jim Unterseher, director of Army Programs for BAE Systems in Minneapolis. "We're confident our CCF solution, which makes conventional cannon projectiles at least three times more accurate, is ready for a fast-track, full-scale development. Our team of artillery and munitions experts was the first to successfully gun-fire a two-directional CCF and is eager to bring this reliable, cost-effective approach to the Precision Guidance Kit competition." During the technical development program, BAE Systems will compete against other contractors to achieve a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 demonstration by the end of the six-month contract (TRL 6 indicates the system or prototype has been demonstrated in a relevant environment). Following the demonstration, the Army will downselect to one contractor to enter system development and demonstration, followed by low-rate initial production, which is expected to begin in 2009. To date, BAE Systems has tested more than 100 CCF fuzes in laboratory and gun-fired environments culminating in the 2005 demonstration where BAE Systems fired M795 rounds equipped with its CCF from both the Future Combat Systems Non-Line-Of-Sight Cannon System Demonstrator and an M109A5 at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground. Analysis from the demonstrations confirmed the projectiles equipped with the two-directional CCF solution achieved a precision error of significantly less than 50 meters, which was three times more accurate than the control rounds. Since that time, the company has continued to mature its design with an aggressive internal program to offer a cost-effective, low-risk solution to the Army that can be fielded with an accelerated system development and demonstration phase. BAE Systems' CCF can be quickly integrated to fire from today's artillery platforms with no impact on current operating procedures. It can be employed on U.S. 155 mm and 105 mm projectiles, and operates with current and future fire control systems and artillery platforms. Its design requires few moving parts, no steering subsystems and no guidance subsystem to minimize cost and risk and enhance reliability.