ATK announced that the artillery Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) has passed First Article Acceptance Tests for both performance and safety during testing recently conducted at Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. Having passed the acceptance testing, PGK is now approved for production.
The PGK will transform existing, conventional artillery projectiles into precision weapons that can significantly reduce dispersion to 30 meters or less, enabling precise targeting. This transformation enables highly responsive and accurate use of artillery on the modern battlefield, which also reduces engagement time and streamlines needed logistical support.
"The precision guidance kit approach is a mature technology that, when applied to existing, indirect-fire munitions such as artillery and mortar projectiles, has the ability to greatly increase accuracy and effectiveness of the current U.S. stockpile for the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and international allies," said Dan Olson, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Armament Systems division. "We have now proven this technology’s performance and safety during rigorous acceptance testing and it is now ready for production and fielding to the warfighter."
PGK is a guidance fuze that fits within the fuze well of 155mm high explosive artillery projectiles and performs in-flight course corrections to enable significantly improved precision, greatly reducing artillery dispersion. The ATK design features a fixed-canard guidance and control approach with gun-hardened electronics and a self-generated power supply. PGK performs all standard fuze functions while also incorporating a "fail safe" option, where a PGK-equipped artillery round will not detonate if it does not get close enough to the target.
During the testing, PGK demonstrated consistent, reliable performance following logistical lifecycle environments, tactical vibration and temperature conditioning in both extreme heat and cold environments. Additionally, PGK-fuzed rounds were fired from both the M109A6 Paladin 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer and the M777A2 155mm Lightweight Towed Howitzer to ensure consistent performance across platforms. Likewise, PGK readily passed the accuracy objective requirement of 30 meters (or less) circular error probable with a majority of rounds being placed within 10 meters of the target during both the reliability and safety testing. Having passed FAAT, PGK is now approved for Low Rate Initial Production.
Today’s battlefield is ever-changing in terms of terrain and engagement criteria. Reducing the risk of friendly and civilian casualties and collateral damage to infrastructure is critical. This combination of constraints often restricts ground commander’s options and, sometimes limits use of artillery to engage critical targets. In March 2013, PGK proved its capability to deliver precision fires for soldiers when it was fielded via an urgent materiel release to U.S. Army and Marine Corps artillery units for training and tactical operations in Afghanistan.
PGK also is compatible with current 155mm artillery stockpiles and provides an accurate, responsive and flexible capability to reduce dispersion normally experienced with today’s conventional inventories. During a September 2014 demonstration, PGK proved its compatibility and performance with the German Army’s DM111, 155mm round fired from their self-propelled howitzer, PzH2000. During this demonstration, PGK delivered 90 percent of rounds fired within five meters accuracy of the target positioned 27 kilometers from the gun position.
ATK also has proven that PGK technology commonality in terms of application and manufacturing processes provides a scalable and affordable precision capability to multiple conventional platforms. Previously, ATK has proven this concept with standard mortar munitions through the ability to transform them into precision weapons for both 120mm smooth bore (during the U.S. Army’s Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative) and 120mm rifled mortar applications (the Marine Corps Precision Extended Range Munition).