Artillery hasn't been all that helpful in the Iraq counterinsurgency. Even in trained hands, heavy, indirect fire is pretty indiscriminate. Bystanders often get killed, while intended targets slip away.Which is why the Army has been bankrolling "Excalibur," a Raytheon effort to build a 155mm artillery shell that's guided by GPS. Think of it as the howitzer's answer to smart bombs.Each Excalibur round comes with a multi-function fuze with three settings -- height of burst (HOB), point detonating (PD) and delay, Raytheon notes. "An HOB setting will enable soldiers and marines in contact to engage enemy forces on rooftops and in windows while the delay setting will be ideal for penetrating structures and other enemy strongpoints. The PD fuze will be effective against enemy troops, light armor and trucks."The company just finished a set of Excalibur tests out at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The plans are for the munition to be fielded in the next six months.
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