Germany and the US join forces for long-range artillery

WARSAW, (BM) – Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman have agreed on cooperation in the development of precision artillery ammunition with extended range, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. These activities are primarily aimed at joint development to increase the precision and effective fire range of 155 mm artillery ammunition. This results from successful field tests of the Assegai V-LAP extended range ammunition system and the M1156 Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) correction modules.

On April 19, 2021, both companies officially confirmed the formalization of cooperation, based on an agreement signed in February this year by Rheinmetall Denel Munition from South Africa, a company owned by Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman. The partnership will focus primarily on developing a 155mm extended-range artillery missile equipped with the M1156 Integrated Guidance System (PGK) and the result of a new 155mm missile with an improved integrated propulsion system. The resulting solutions are to offer on international markets, including the US and other NATO countries.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition is developing the Assegai V-LAP (VelocityEnhanced Artillery Projectile) long-range ammunition system, which in 2019 made it possible to achieve a firing range of a 155 mm caliber howitzer of over 76 km. Thanks to the use of the Denel G6 self-propelled howitzer with a modified chamber and a barrel length of 52 calibers, it was possible. The standard PzH-2000 self-propelled howitzer with a barrel of the same size reached a range of 66.9 km. The work aims to achieve even higher performance, exceeding even 80 km.

When firing at such distant targets from a barreled weapon, many factors make it difficult to hit. Therefore, in conjunction with long-range systems, solutions are to be developed to correct the missile trajectory by the target parameters. Northrop Grumman already has some capabilities in this regard. It creates the M1156 Precision Guidance Kit (PGK), already used by many armies worldwide, which they can use in a standard 155 mm artillery shell to correct its flight path. It uses GPS.

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The decision to cooperate is the result of successful tests of combining both solutions. Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman jointly tested the V-LAP missile variants with the PGK correction module in early 2021 at the Alkantpan training ground in South Africa. They intended to demonstrate the possibilities of such a combination at the US Army training ground in Yuma, Arizona. This demonstration opens up the possibility of developing precise, long-range artillery ammunition with American funding, which is undoubtedly one of the critical objectives of this cooperation.

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