General Dynamics (GD) Ordnance and Tactical Systems has signed a teaming agreement with BAE Systems to develop and demonstrate the 81mm roll controlled guided mortar (RCGM) with global positioning system (GPS) guidance to boost the soldier’s combat effectiveness.
Equipped with the existing UK L41 bomb and US M734A1 fuse from a conventional mortar round and GD roll-controlled fixed canard (RCFC) technology, the mortar will provide the infantry soldier with a portable, one-shot, one-kill precision weapon at an affordable price.
The addition of GD’s patented RCFC system and GPS guidance enhances the round’s precision capability.
Field trials of the weapon was recently conducted by BAE at the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona last month, during which five of the live bombs fired from the mortar travelled 3.7km and struck within two and five metres of the target.
In contrast, a conventional round fired from the same standard 81mm mortar tube supplied by BAE to the US and 40 nations worldwide can reach about 5.6kms with a circular error of probability of 40m.
GD Ordnance and Tactical Systems president, Michael Wilson, said: "By using existing warheads and fusing with our low-cost control and guidance system, we can offer a truly affordable precision mortar round to the US, UK and allies across the world."
BAE Systems’ Munitions business managing director, Ian Anderton, said: "The weapon can be programmed within 10 seconds and will help reduce the logistics supply lines by 30% as fewer rounds would be needed to complete a mission."
Manufacturing work on the weapon has been going on over the past year and the companies plan to conduct tactical demonstrations by mid 2012 followed by production in late 2013.