Soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, from Fort Bliss, Texas, became the first troops to fire the Army’s upcoming near-precision projectile, the XM1156 Precision Guidance Kit, during tests in October, at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.
The Precision Guidance Kit, or PGK, is a global positioning system guidance kit with fuzing functions that turns the U.S. Army’s conventional stockpile of 155-mm high explosive M549A1 and M795 cannon artillery projectiles into near precision munitions, said Joseph Galyean, Test & Evaluation Integrated Product Team Leader.
The Program Executive Office for Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is scheduled to begin fielding the Precision Guidance Kit to troops in spring 2013, via an Urgent Material Release, or UMR, Galyean said. Materiel releases signify that new and upgraded Army systems are fit for Soldiers to use.
The PGK corrects the ballistic trajectory of the conventional projectile to improve the round’s accuracy to less than 50 meters Circular Error Probable, known as CEP. Fifty meters CEP means that if you drew a circle around a target at 50 meters radius, the rounds have to fall inside the circle 50 percent of the time.
Its near-precision accuracy will reduce the number of projectiles required to hit targets, which in turn reduces collateral damage.
The Fort Bliss Soldiers helped Picatinny representatives successfully complete an Early User Assessment, or EUA, and Sequential Environmental Test for Performance, or SET-P, of the kit.
The SET-P component of the test demonstrated the reliability of the PGK after being subjected to tactical adverse environmental conditions, said Galyean. The EUA evaluated potential operational effectiveness and suitability of the system.
In total, the Fort Bliss unit fired 24 PGK-equipped projectiles, as part of digital fire missions from the forward observer, through the fire direction center, to the weapon system. Twenty of these rounds were in support of the EUA and SET-P.
In addition to the EUA/SET-P firings, an additional four PGK-equipped projectiles were fired by the Soldiers to support a Program of Instruction Excursion. This demonstrated a completely digital sensor to shooter call for fire, and resulted in 4 for 4 successful guidance and effects. It demonstrated that the PGK can be used by a downrange observer using a Lightweight Laser Designator/Rangefinder, sending target locations to the gun via Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.
PGK is compatible with existing high-explosive, 155-mm M795 and M549A1 High Explosive projectiles fired from the 155mm M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer and the 155-mm M777A2 towed howitzer.