Oto Melara and Diehl Defence have successfully demonstrated the precision and terminal accuracy of the 155mm Vulcano semi-active laser (SAL) guided ammunition during a series of field trials at the Alkanptan firing range in South Africa.

Launched from a PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, the ammunition scored a direct hit against a 2x2m target located at a distance of 33km during the test firings, which were conducted under the German and Italian programme agreement on 155mm guided ammunition.

During testing, rounds with only GPS terminal guidance fell 20m short of the target, whereas the GPS and SAL terminal guidance-equipped shells successfully destroyed the 2x2m plate.

Italian MoD delegation chief captain Ettore Saran said: ”The amount of recorded data as well as the accuracy demonstrated by the ammunition with GPS guidance and SAL sensor for the terminal homing phase contributed to a very successful campaign.”

"The accuracy demonstrated by the ammunition contributed to a very successful campaign."

The GPS/SAL terminal guidance is being supplied by Diehl Defence, along with fire command and ammunition programming issues and test and firing equipment. This is part of the cooperation agreement on conventional and guided ammunition signed with Oto Melara in June 2012.

Manufactured by Oto Melara under the sponsorship of Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD), Vulcano is a family of extended range unguided ammunition and long-range guided ammunition designed to address the artillery regiments and rapid reaction forces’ existing and future requirements to fire with high precision and long range 155mm ammunition.

The guided ammunition family features 127mm and 155mm ammunition with dual-mode GPS/IR or GPS/SAL terminal homing capability for the Oto Melara 127/64 light weight naval guns, and the German and Italian PzH2000 howitzers and all other existing 155mm artillery weapons.

The companies are planning to complete the Vulcano development and industrialisation phase in 2014, with the aim to launch its low-rate initial production in the same year.

Defence Technology