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Marine Artillery Battery Sets Record; Hits Target from 22 Miles Away

by G&A Online Editors   |  July 9th, 2012 29
OP Athens

Lance Cpl. Ahmad Garland holds an XM982 Excalibur Round at Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge. (Photo by James J. Lee/Marine Corps Times)

A U.S. Marine artillery battery’s strike on a group of insurgents not only took out a few terrorists, the massive round set a new record.

According to the Marine Corps Times, Golf Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., fired a 155mm M982 Excalibur round from an M777 howitzer Feb. 12 in at Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge, in Kajaki, Afghanistan, hitting a group of Taliban insurgents more than 22 miles (36 kilometers) away, setting a Marine Corps record for longest operational artillery shot.

However, chances are the record could fall. According to David Brockway, representative of the round’s developer, Raytheon Missile Systems, the round has been known to accurately hit targets up to 37.5 kilometers away in testing, and could also be launched up to 41 kilometers from 39-caliber M777 howitzers.

In 2007, the U.S. Army named an early version of the round, the XM982, one of its inventions of the year, citing the round’s “unmatched precision and lethality for artillery projectiles critical to urban warfare.” The Marine Corps sent an urgent request for over 1,000 rounds in 2011, and have fired the Excalibur ever since.

Golf Battery returned to Camp Pendleton in May.

  • Dave Hicks

    ooh rah
    reach out and touche somebody!

    • Dave Hicks

      or I can learn to spell, TOUCH
      fat fingers small keyboard!

      • mrcathman

        I "no" what you mean . . .

        • mike

          Dew yew really ?

          • Guest

            I Haight when that happens…

    • Ed Nolan

      This is how I like to see my tax money spent.

  • Tanstaafl2

    Puts my smugger moments in marksmanship to shame – these guys hit stuff at ranges where you actually have to take into consideration how much the earth is going to rotate between firing and impact!

    • Keithonline

      Is that actually true? I don't think it would be. The atmosphere is moving with the earth, assuming no wind, so any velocity vector due to earth rotation should be equal to the target, therefore cancelled out. Unless there is some coriolis effect. If this is true, could you site some references so I could read up on it?

      • Tanstaafl2

        I would have doubted it too for the same reasons you gave, but this is what the guide on the Battleship Texas museum ship told me

      • Wolvie


        Google Cheytac M200.

        This sniper rifle system has a PDA that calculates the earth's rotation into your firing solution.

        Not only do you absolutely have to account for the earth's rotation with artillery, but you will even have to do it at extreme ranges with specialized sniper rifles.

        • Mack Missiletoe

          In WWII Germans used a massive artillery gun that required the Coriolis effect to be calculated for accurate shots…from what I read. Or maybe it was in The World at War documentary.

      • ShiningStar 43

        Yes, it is true. While winds aloft do affect the projectile, the Earth turns under it faster than the wind can move it.

  • Artyguy1975

    No longer a problem. They have computers to figure that out. Probably an iPad app for that. Maybe on an iPod Touch. Amazing stuff. When I was at Ft. Sill in 1975, the 8 inch howitzer had great accuracy, but not at that kind of range. Definitely couldn't do that with a 155. 'Course, our fire direction control computer used glowing wires for numbers and was in a box the size of a footlocker. And we always had to shoot uphill. Coming and going. In the snow. :-)

    • OldGunner

      Freddt FADAC!! We miss you Freddy. Then came the TI-59.

      • ShiningStar 43

        My FDC in ’65 had slide rules, firing tables, pencil and paper but we still got steel on target pretty quick. We got very few complaints from the Sand Packers.

  • mikkidog

    That's very impressive performance, but you have to wonder if it's more cost effective to just carpet bomb with "cheap" dumb munitions. If they have air support, the pilots probably want the inexpensive target practice.

    • Guest

      One shot , one kill with artillery with no collateral damage. No flight crews or aircraft in danger. Just one $50,000.00 shot. It's worth it.
      Compared to Obama's spending it's peanuts.

      • Eric

        The DA39 pictured above costs $125,000 a shot compared to a regular 155mm HE round that costs around $1000 or so a shot.

  • mike

    That's what it was designed to it, we need not applaud it or marvel at it , but just appreciate that it works well. A drone with a hellfire missile would have done the same for less cost.

  • Dale

    Helluva shot ,but didn't the Iowa class battleships do that with 16 inch rifles fairly regularly? Any old vets who can confirm?

    • Guest

      That's pretty close to the max range for a HC 16"/50 round, but then a HC 16" round weighs 1900 pounds and will create a crater 50 feet wide and 20 feet deep.

      USS WISCONSIN (BB 64), 1988-1990

  • ggb1954

    Field Artillery!!! The King of Battle!! 8" howitzer, 200 lb projo… 50 gal drum at 14.5 kilometers…..

    Keep 'em shooting and there is no such thing as collateral damage any where in the sand box!!!

    • Alan T


  • Tony McCann

    Well done, however it's not shooting it's computers and math. As an former Marine Sniper, if you can't see what you are shooting at, it is tecnically not shooting.

    • Wolvie

      So, by that line of thinking…

      Does a sniper shoot or is that just computers, math, charts and optics?

      When Carlos Hathkock (intentionally misspelled to get past auto-censor) put a bullet through the scope and into the head of that that other sniper trying to kill him, he never saw the guy until after the shot (he merely saw the flash of light from the scope lens). So, that wasn't shooting, either?

      If a bad guy makes it to cover and you calculate, estimate and correct for a penetrating shot through cover that hits the target, is that not considered shooting, either?

      • Mack Missiletoe

        It's shooting.

        Don't be jealous Mr. Sniper.

  • William

    FYI…The Excaliber is a GPS-guided munition. Once fired from the howitzer, fins open up and guide the projectile to the target. The best part, is that its final trajectory is almost straight down, so there is no hiding behind walls, houses, or mountains.

  • D. Boone

    Can you imagine that one guy stand outside the old dirt hut taking a smoke, and wondering what the hell that thing was falling out of the sky in the middle of no where?

  • jeffrey

    I saw this weapons system on the Military Channel. It is totally bad a$$.

    Well done Marines,

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