Precision-guided howitzer projectiles tested at extreme cold temperatures
PICATINNY ARSENAL, NJ--To evaluate performance at extremely cold temperatures, precision-guided projectiles were tested in sub-zero temperatures last month for the Precision Guidance Kit or PGK, which greatly increases the accuracy of 155 millimeter howitzer fires.
PGK is a GPS guided fuze that affixes to and greatly increases the accuracy of conventional high explosive 155 millimeter artillery projectiles when fired from the M777A2 and M109A6 howitzers.
The most recent evaluation was conducted by the office of the Product Manager for Guided Precision Munitions and Mortar Systems at Picatinny Arsenal, in conjunction with Yuma Test Center at the Cold Regions Test Center in Fort Greely, Alaska, at which 21 production-representative PGKs were fired in temperatures bottoming out at -50F which was well below the operational requirement of -25F.
The purpose of the test was to learn how PGK performs in an extremely cold environment, where ground temperatures ranged from -5F to -50F. The test team set out to verify both the structural integrity of the PGK as well as the aerodynamic stability of the PGK fuzed projectiles in low density, extremely cold atmosphere.
"PGK was very successful during the test and 18 of 21 PGKs fired successfully guided to the target achieving an average radial miss distance of approximately 37 meters," Maj. Pat Farrell, Assistant Product Manager for PGK.
In comparison, non-PGK, conventionally fuzed artillery is expected to impact well over 200 meters from the target due to the natural dispersion caused by environmental effects on the projectiles at maximum ranges.
The test also marks the first time the M777A2 operated at -50F at the outdoor range complex at the cold regions testing facility, a significant accomplishment for the system.
The PGK team is planning an Initial Operational Test in May 2015.
This operational test will inform a full rate production decision for PGK slated for October 2015. The Army Acquisition Objective for PGK is more than 102,000 fuzes.
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