“In a test firing last year, several Excalibur rounds fired at a distance of 30 miles landed within one meter of their targets, on average,” usatoday.com reports. “It achieves this extraordinary range by gliding on wings at the apex of its firing arc, while the extraordinary accuracy comes via GPS guidance.” How great is that? Don’t answer! Because each 155-millimeter Excalibur howitzer round cost $70k. USA Today dutifully repeats maker Raytheon’s William Tell anecdote (“nine times out of 10, it’ll nail the younger Tell somewhere between socks and eyebrows”) and the argument that the price is actually a bargain . . .
Paladins today ordinarily carry 39 unguided howitzer rounds, which are produced by arms makers including General Dynamics (NYSE: GD ) and Esterline (NYSE: ESL ) and cost about $1,000 each. But because such rounds are “dumb,” Army experts estimate it can take anywhere from 10 to 50 unguided rounds to destroy a target that Excalibur can take out in a single shot. So on average, a Paladin firing unguided rounds might have to nearly empty its magazine to destroy a target that — if armed with Excaliburs — it could destroy with just one shot.
Replacing dumb rounds with Excaliburs . . . should permit a Paladin to destroy targets faster and destroy more targets, and to cause less collateral damage in the process. And because the Paladin won’t go through its ammunition as quickly, the Army won’t need to load, ship, unload, and reload as much ammunition — saving vast amounts of money up and down the supply chain. When you consider the efficiencies Excalibur permits on the supply chain “tail,” the Army may very well end up saving money by buying Excaliburs — even at 70 times the cost of a conventional howitzer round.
Right. The Army “may” save money with the Excalibur rounds. And the odds are high, because the Army is really good at saving money. Especially when it comes to ammo. Anyway….Raytheon. Buy! [h/t SS]