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Army Tests Long-Range Cannon Artillery System Ahead of Potential Tech Modifications in 2021

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Extended Range
Extended Range Cannon Artillery

The U.S. Army has completed a recent assessment of a long-range cannon as part of efforts to deploy an artillery system that can hit targets 43 miles away, Defense News reported Monday.

The Extended Range Cannon Artillery platform used a Raytheon Technologies-built Excalibur guided artillery component as part of the demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

ERCA fired three shots at 1,000 meters per second during the test which saw the use of an isolator for the cannon’s inertial measurement unit to stabilize pressure in the artillery chamber.

BAE Systems secured a contract to prototype ERCA in July 2019 and received another award earlier this year to manufacture Long Range Precision Guidance Kit fuzes for the cannon to support live-fire testing.

Col. Tony Gibbs, program manager for combat artillery system at the Army, said the recent test builds on more than a year of testing for the Excalibur projectile technology.

Brig, Gen. John Rafferty, head of the Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires modernization programs, said the service plans to “make a lot of decisions” on ERCA in 2021 to incorporate soldier-centered design features.

“We will snap the chalk line on the propellant, we will snap the chalk line on the projectile design and begin to look towards manufacturability, towards production,” he said. The Army looks to field the cannon by 2023, according to Rafferty.