New Delhi: Indian artillery will now be able to hit Pakistan hard for any ceasefire violations along the Line of Control. The Indian Army on Monday tested newly-acquired GPS guided 155-mm Excalibur precision artillery shells at Pokhran. The Army has bought these GPS guided ammunition from the United States under emergency financial powers after the Pulwama attack in February on a CRPF convoy.
These ground-launched precision-guided artillery shells gives Indian guns extended range and the ability to hit targets with very high accuracy. Its makers claim that it can take at least 10 conventional munitions to accomplish what one Excalibur weapon can do.
This will also give the Indian Army the capability to hit enemy positions close to populated areas without causing collateral damage. These shells will be used in M-777 Ultra Light Howitzers (ULHs), which are the first modern artillery guns acquired by India in November last year from the US.
“Today the Indian Army conducted test-firing of the newly-acquired US Excalibur precision-guided munitions at Pokhran... a new capability that will integrate with the US-origin M777 Ultralight Howitzer,” the US embassy said on Monday. The Excalibur has a range of approximately 40 to 57 km.
Raytheon, which manufactures the Excalibur, claims that projectile is a true precision weapon, impacting at “a radial miss distance of less than two meters from the target”. This means that the shell can fall within two metres of its intended target. “By using the Excalibur projectile’s level of precision, there is a dramatic reduction in the time, cost and logistical burden associated with other artillery munitions,” claims Raytheon.
The new ammunition could prove to be a game changer. Currently Pakistan does not have such ammunition, said sources.
There has been an increase in ceasefire violation by Pakistan at the LoC after the Centre revoked Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union territories. In 2019 there were 2,835 ceasefire violations by Pakistan (till November 27). In 2018, there were 1,600 ceasefire violations in the entire year.
In November 2019 alone, there were 268 ceasefire violations. Pakistan indulged in ceasefire violations to provide cover to push terrorists into the Kashmir Valley, the sources added.