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U.S army

The Army’s Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) gun fired a shell to a range of 43 miles (70 kilometers) on the dot breaking the world record for precision strikes, reported Defense News. The test took place at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

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On the nose
“I don’t think our adversaries have the ability to hit a target on the nose at 43 miles,” Brig. Gen. John Rafferty said in a teleconference held immediately following the successful test. He then further explained that the experiment consisted of three shots.

The first two were failures, while the third one proved a success. The first shot missed due to very high head winds at a high altitude, and the second shot suffered a hardware failure. The army explained that they knew these first shots would likely come short but took them anyway to learn from them.

“This demonstration is not a destination,” said Col. Tony Gibbs, the Army’s program manager for combat artillery system. “This is really just a waypoint in our ongoing campaign of learning as we work to really realign U.S. supremacy in cannon artillery. It’s definitely a big knowledge point for us today.”

A powerful howitzer
The ERCA cannon consists of an M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) howitzer chassis where the 39-caliber gun tube has been replaced with a 58-caliber, 30-foot (9-meter) one, and has been equipped with Raytheon-made Excalibur munitions. Gibbs explained that it took about a year and a half of testing and analysis to determine whether the Excalibur projectiles could withstand harsher environments.

“So through a number of tests and analysis, we determined what muzzle velocity is required, what chamber pressures the projectile can withstand and so all that came together in today’s test; we fired it at the right propellant combination to provide the right muzzle velocity to achieve the range,” said Gibbs.