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Raytheon Validates Excalibur Block Ia-1 Production Configuration

TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 19, 2006 /PRNewswire/ -- Validating performance and reliability of the Excalibur Block 1a-1 production configuration, Raytheon Missile Systems and BAE Systems-Bofors successfully fired 25 GPS-guided Excalibur projectiles during an extensive First Article Test series in November.

Excalibur -- a cooperative effort between Raytheon Missile Systems and BAE Systems Bofors of Sweden -- is an artillery projectile that uses satellite guidance to provide precision accuracy at extended ranges for all current and future 155 mm howitzers.

The successful testing at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona brings the Excalibur GPS-guided artillery round a significant step closer to fielding to deployed forces in early 2007.

"The successful First Article Test firings far exceeded the reliability requirement," said Jim Riley, Raytheon Land Combat product line vice president. "This is one more major step toward providing an absolutely revolutionary capability to our soldier."

The First Article Test series included the full spectrum of environmental conditions, including tactical transportation vibration, drop tests and conditioning at extreme cold and hot temperatures. Rounds were fired from Paladin and LW155 howitzers at a minimum range of 5 miles (8 kilometers) and close to maximum ranges. (Block 1a-1 maximum range requirement is 15 miles or 24 kilometers.)

To demonstrate Excalibur's significant maneuverability, off-axis performance also was verified at 15 degrees off-axis from the gun-target line. The targets included a reinforced concrete structure, dug-in towed artillery, simulated personnel, air defense radars and light armored vehicles in the open. The mixed target set was used to verify warhead lethality as well as the functioning of the Excalibur fuze in all three modes - point detonate, point detonate delay and height of burst.

The test series also verified the functioning of the digital fire support system to exercise the entire Excalibur system-of-systems.

Eight of the First Article Test firings were supported by artillerymen from the 214th Field Artillery Brigade stationed at Fort Sill, Okla.

Forward observers using the digital Forward Observer System located the targets and transmitted the fire missions to fire support personnel operating the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, who transmitted digital fire orders to the Paladin cannon crew. The cannon crewmen completed the end- to-end verification of the use of Excalibur in the digital fire support system as they used the Portable Excalibur Fire Control System to initialize the rounds.

The successful First Article Test series signals the go ahead for full testing by soldiers in the Limited User Tests scheduled for February 2007.

The Excalibur program is responding to an urgent request from the warfighter to accelerate fielding because of the projectile's better than 10- meter (33 feet) accuracy that is not available from any other artillery projectile. With its accuracy and increased effectiveness, Excalibur provides operational flexibility and reduces the logistical burden for deployed ground

forces. It also reduces collateral damage through increased precision, near- vertical descent and optimized fragmentation pattern.

The extended range of the Ia-2 Excalibur (26 miles or 40 kilometers when fired from LW155 and Paladin howitzers), in development now with a planned initial operational capability in fiscal year 2008, will enable optimal positioning of forces and further extend maneuver forces' tactical reach.

Raytheon Company, with 2005 sales of $21.9 billion, is an industry leader in defense and government electronics, space, information technology, technical services, and business and special mission aircraft. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 80,000 people worldwide.

  Everett Tackett, APR

SOURCE: Raytheon Company

CONTACT: Everett Tackett, APR of Raytheon Company, +1-520-794-9494

Web site: http://www.raytheon.com/

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