Apr 15, 2023
- Ukraine’s commander-in-chief posted a Facebook video showing the effects of the M982 Excalibur.
- Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny praised the maximum accuracy of the precision-guided shells.
- The US has supplied Ukraine with more than 3,000 of the advanced shells, according to a report.
Ukraine’s top general Valeriy Zaluzhny shared a video showing the effectiveness of US-provided M982 Excalibur shells against Russian forces.
In the video, which was posted to Zaluzhny’s Facebook page, a Ukrainian soldier praised the high-precision Excalibur shells, saying they were extremely important for accurately striking Russian forces’ equipment.
“Constant firing by our gunners against Russian positions on the Right [western] Bank [of the Dnipro River] for 24 hours a day, led to the enemy losing a huge amount of equipment which had been shelling Mykolaiv,” the serviceman said, according to a translation by the Kyiv Post
The video shared by Ukraine’s commander-in-chief appears to show several destroyed Russian weapons systems, including what seems to be a 2S7 Pion self-propelled cannon and two S-300 anti-aircraft systems, the Kyiv Post reported.
The GPS-guided 155 mm shells offer an accurate, longer-range alternative to conventional artillery shell, capable of hitting within seven feet of their target.
The Excalibur has a range of 25 miles, according to Pentagon budget documents from last year that first confirmed the shells had been sent to Ukraine.
While the weapon can be used to accurately strike targets within that range with normal artillery, the US has even used it to score a direct hit on a truck at more than 40 miles in tests, Forces.net reported.
BAE Systems, the manufacturer, said the shell’s “key feature” is that it has the same accuracy regardless of the distance between the gun and the target, adding that it has a “Circular Error Probability,” which is a measure of a weapon’s precision, of less than 10 meters.
The rounds are fired after a crew puts GPS coordinates into the shell, and once it is launched its deployable fins pop out, allowing it to adjust its trajectory to hit the designated location.
The Excalibur’s accuracy “enables a first-round effect on target, reducing the number of rounds required while reducing collateral damage,” according to Army budget documents reported on by Bloomberg.
One downside of the shells is the cost — each Excalibur round costs around $100,000, the documents say, compared with just a few hundred dollars for a conventional munition such as the M795, the US military’s standard unguided 155 mm shell.
It is thought that the US has sent around 3,000 Excalibur rounds to Ukraine since Russia invaded last year, Forces.net reported in January.
The cost for an Excalibur is high, but compare that with a tank, air defense system, ammo depot, or any other high-value target that it can destroy, especially seeing that a shell is the safest way to dispatch something, without endangering a plane or chopper, the cost is worth it.