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Weapons: Laser Guided Mortar Round
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November 26, 2007: The U.S. is shipping laser guided 120mm mortar rounds to Iraq and Afghanistan. The XM395 Precision Guided Mortar Munition has been in development for twelve years, and was almost cancelled at least once because of the delays. The 38 pound XM395 round has a range of seven kilometers, and will land within three feet of where the laser is pointed. Unguided mortar shells cannot put the first round that close, and requires firing several rounds, and adjusting aim, before you get one on the target. A guided mortar round is very useful in urban warfare, where a miss will often kill civilians. The 120mm mortar round has about five pounds of explosives, compared to 15 pounds in a 155mm shell. The smaller explosive charges limits collateral damage to civilians. The XM395 completed its testing over the Summer, and will begin arriving in Iraq and Afghanistan early next year. Each round will cost about $40,000. Every U.S. infantry battalion is equipped with 120mm mortars.

 

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Herald1234    About damned time.   11/26/2007 6:07:08 AM
This plus a PGM 10.5cm howitzer shell gives artillery a new lease on life. SMASH is always important, but mobility and logistics always helps.
 
Funny that Europeans seem to have thought this through better than the US, isn't it. Still playing catchup on the artillery front.
 
Herald
 
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doggtag       11/26/2007 12:35:04 PM

This plus a PGM 10.5cm howitzer shell gives artillery a new lease on life. SMASH is always important, but mobility and logistics always helps.

 

Funny that Europeans seem to have thought this through better than the US, isn't it. Still playing catchup on the artillery front.

 

Herald


I stand in agreement with you on this one, too, Herald.
A 105mm PGM would have considerable potential, especially for danger-close scenarios.
 
Hell, if the Russians can develop and field a laser-guided 100mm round for their BMP-3s (9M117 Bastion, although some sources suggest there are both AT and HE support round variants, and these are more direct fire than indirect),
and DARPA can team with BAE to proof-of-concept the laser guided principal into something as small as a 60mm mortar shell (ODAM ),
then yeah, I agree,
it seems the US has slipped on this one.
You'd figure that as precision-fires-intensive that the US Army is aiming to be with its FCS systems and their networkability, we'd be more intent on designing more and more PGMs for tubes.
The fact we've had LGBs since the VietNam war, yet we've taken all this time to get it down to a 70mm rocket-based system,
suggests to me that we aren't totally focused on where exactly, and to what degree, we really care about precision fire support.
The fact the 81mm guided mortar rounds never went anywhere beyond the expensive, and generally unnecessary since there's no longer a Red Horde armored threat, Merlin mmwave round,
I just don't get why we've never really pushed for a 105mm PGM.
 
Considering the Italians are offering a saboted sub-caliber guided round for their 76mm naval guns (Davide/DART), definitely suggests the US is slipping behind the curve.
And hell, it was the British who developed the laser-guided triple-dart warhead system in the Starstreak HVM...even over a decade ago! Those darts aren't even an inch and half in diameter each.
 

 
 
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reefdiver       12/31/2007 2:29:03 PM
I'm surprised this weapon didn't get more discussion. The program apparently includes plans for an IR seeker as well. This means in the near future there will be the choice of Laser, GPS, or IR guidance mortar rounds. You could throw in a "recon round" with its camera for BDA. I'm curious if they might not try to put a (downsized?) SKEET in the 120 round. 
 
Combine these rounds with the DragonFire auto-loading 120mm mortar placed in a Stryker and you would seem to have an extremely potent weapon.
 
At any rate, has anyone heard of the XM395 being used yet (1 month later...)?
 
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