Soldiers of the Idaho Army National Guard’s (ANG) 1st of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment (1-148th FAR) have received training and certification using modernised precision-guided munitions.
This is the first time that the soldiers conducted live-fire missions using the US Army’s modernised M1156 Precision Guidance Kit (PGK).
The live firing was carried out during the battalion’s annual training exercise, which was held at the Orchard Combat Training Center.
The battalion used the M109A6 Paladin and more than 80 high explosive rounds for the training.
Manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the M1156 PGK is equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and fuse functions.
Fixed to 155mm artillery shells, the 3lb PGK transforms the rounds into GPS-guided munitions.
The system can adjust the round’s flight trajectory with the help of aerodynamic fins on the fuse and lead the shell to its target.
This reduces errors in target delivery and cuts the number of projectiles needed to execute a mission.
In a statement, 1-148th FAR commander lieutenant colonel Brady Johnson said: “This enables the 1-148th FAR to deploy munitions within 30m of a target instead of the average 50m of traditional artillery, increasing the battalion’s lethality and decreasing costs.
“The modernised weaponry allows 18 separate targets to be simultaneously targeted and attacked at a third of the cost of conventional missions, with minimal clearance of fire issues.”
In addition, the system’s fail-safe feature helps lower collateral damage.
1-148th FAR master gunner sergeant 1st class Mike Taylor said: “This can prevent the shell from exploding if it falls outside 150m of an intended target, enabling soldiers to call in artillery support and reduce collateral damage.”
The regiment’s M109A6 Paladin is a cannon artillery system that fires 155 mm artillery shells.
The 1-148th FAR offers fire support in close combat and controls land areas through counterfire.
In March 2022, the Idaho Army and Air National Guard units held joint combat search and rescue training throughout the Owyhee Mountains.