The US Marine Corps (USMC) has placed orders with Raytheon to deliver a new 120mm long-range precision extended range munition (PERM) to improve the force's capabilities.
Under the contract, Raytheon in partnership with Israeli Military Industries will design, develop, test and mature the new long-range, guided-mortar weapon over a period of 18 months.
The PERM will provide all-weather, ground-based close support, and immediate responsive and accurate indirect fires capabilities for the USMC air-to-ground task force.
Raytheon Missile Systems Advanced Missile Systems vice president Tom Bussing said that the company would provide precision, highly lethal indirect fire support capabilities for the USMC to support its combat missions, while minimising collateral damage.
"Our PERM solution is expected to reduce logistical burdens since fewer rounds will be needed to accomplish the mission," Bussing added.
Used with the 120mm M327 rifled towed mortar weapon, the primary weapon system of the Expeditionary Fire Support System team, the PERM features extended range mortar capabilities to take on enemy artillery, command and control centres, as well as other targets.
Capable of operating in weather conditions and terrain, the PERM will be designed to provide the US Marines expeditionary unit with Excalibur-like operational flexibility and precision lethality.
Engineering and manufacturing development phase of the PERM programme is scheduled to be complete within 24 months.
Currently in service with the USMC, the General Dynamics-built M327 rifled towed mortar weapon can effectively fire both rifled and smoothbore ammunition.
Featuring rugged suspension system, the weapon can be safely towed over all types of terrain while enabling easy extraction and quick movement to avoid counter-fire.