The collaboration will provide the US and other allied military forces with a wide range of low-risk, cost-effective, upgraded munitions for advanced, large-calibre weapon systems.
The two companies intend to offer new modified variants of Leonardo’s Vulcano, which is a family of gun-launched munitions that surpass the performance of currently available precision-guided projectiles.
Vulcano will be integrated into a wide range of gun systems, including the advanced gun system (AGS) and the Mk 45 naval gun built by BAE Systems.
Leonardo Defence Systems managing director Gianpiero Lorandi said: “The Vulcano long-range guided ammunition family, part of Leonardo’s global offer of naval, land-based and aeronautical weapon systems for customers worldwide, represents state-of-the-art technology with its unmatched range, accuracy, and effectiveness, which was successfully demonstrated in testing.
“Not only is it compatible with 155mm land and 5inch naval gun systems, Vulcano can also be easily integrated into current and future platforms such as the AGS; a major benefit.”
The AGS is currently deployed on-board the US Navy’s Zumwalt-class destroyers, while the Mk 45 is largely used by the navy and allied nations.
Vulcano’s new adaptations will help provide solutions for land-based 155mm artillery systems, including all variants of the M777 and M109 howitzers for the US military and allies worldwide.
The 155mm gun-launched munitions have achieved launch accelerations that support maximum engagement ranges during testing, similar to distances required for the former long-range land attack projectile (LRLAP) programme.
Further, the Mk 45 naval gun has the capability to fire the 5in Vulcano at 20 rounds each minute to a maximum range more than three times greater than existing munitions.
BAE Systems and Leonardo have also plans to jointly focus on delivering an upgraded guidance and navigation unit.
Additionally, both companies will explore the possibility of offering an enhanced guidance and navigation unit, including semi-active laser and infrared seeker options designed to ensure precision and offer moving-target capability to address air, land and sea based threats.
Image: Vulcano belongs to a family of gun-launched munitions. Photo: courtesy of Leonardo – Società per azioni.