By Audra CallowayApril 30, 2015
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- The Precision Guidance Kit (PGK), a program that turns 155 mm artillery rounds into near-precision projectiles, has reached another important milestone on its track to Full Rate Production (FRP).
PGK is a new, advanced fuze that transforms the current stockpile of conventional 155 mm ammunition into affordable, GPS-guided precision weapons that provide leap-ahead combat capability, while simultaneously reducing the logistic footprint for our armed forces.
The program successfully completed a first Production Lot Acceptance Test at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, last week to assess the reliability of design corrective actions and provide acceptance of the first low rate initial production lot.
A total of 42 PGKs were fired from the M109A6 Paladin. Forty-one out of 42 units performed reliably, demonstrating a point estimate reliability of 97 percent.
"Team Picatinny and our industry partners at Orbital ATK worked through some difficult technical challenges that impacted the program over the past year or so," said Jim Shields, the Program Executive Officer Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal.
"These results confirm the effectiveness of the disciplined root cause analysis and corrective actions developed by engineers, which have now been implemented in the latest design configuration. It's a great example of what can be accomplished by a high-performing team," he said.
In 2013 PEO Ammunition began delivering PGK to troops as part of an Urgent Materiel Release.
Two more Lot Acceptance Tests are scheduled for May and June, which will support a full rate production decision by the end of the year.
"The PGK program is a top priority program within PEO Ammunition, and this Lot Acceptance Test success marks a significant accomplishment for the program," Shields said.
Soldiers install the PGK into the fuze well of conventional 155 mm high explosive M549A1 and M795 cannon artillery projectiles, just as they would any standard fuze. After launch, the PGK uses GPS signals to adjust the ballistic trajectory of the projectile during its flight so that it remains on a trajectory to impact at the programmed location.
Once on target, PGK will function in one of the two selected modes - point detonating or proximity. This capability allows troops to turn their inventory of conventional artillery rounds into "smart" munitions at a fraction of the cost of typical precision munitions.
PGK technology provides greater precision and lethality for American troops, but it also reduces the potential for collateral damage to friendly troops and non-combatants by incorporating a "fail-safe" option, which prevents a PGK-equipped artillery round from detonating if it does not get close enough to the target location.
This ability to deliver precision fires and reduce collateral damage greatly increases the utility of cannon fires.
The prime contractor for PGK is Orbital Alliant Techsystems (OATK).