Not by Excalibur only… European arms group Leonardo offers high-precision guided ammunition Vulcano GLR with a range of… 100 km! Is classical artillery again becoming a competitor of rocket artillery? We will try to figure out.
Vulcano has been a family of unguided and guided sub-caliber munition for 76-mm, 127-mm and 155-mm artillery systems for some time. At the Eurosatory 2022 Defense Exhibition, Leonardo presented an updated version of the ammunition.
Vulcano ammunition is divided into two classes. The BER (Ballistic Extended Range) series is unguided ammunition with a range of up to 60 km and a lighter with several options. But the GLR (Guided Long Range/IR) is guided ammunition that can hit a target at a range of up to 80 km and has inertial, GPS and IR guidance (to illuminate the target). Leonardo proposes to use them as high-precision anti-ship munition. Why anti-ship? Because the main artillery system for the Vulcano GLR is the Leonardo OTO 127/64 Light Weight (LW) Vulcano Naval Defense Systems.
OTO 127/64 LW Leonardo Defence Systems Naval Guns itself a very interesting rapid-firing (at a caliber of 127 mm) gun with a bunch of electronics and innovative solutions. And it is this gun, which uses the Naval Fire Control Support system, can hit targets at a distance of more than 100 km! Of course, using Vulcano GLR (Guided Long Range) shells for NFS.
Such artillery systems are planned to be installed on the newest German frigates F126 (will become part of the fleet in 2028), on the Italian frigates FREMM (the first 8 are already in the fleet, two more will arrive in 2025) and ships of the Thaon di Revel coastal zone (will be operational in 2022), Spanish frigates F110 (from 2025), Dutch frigates De Zeven Provinciën (replacement of old 127-mm guns), Canadian frigates Canadian Surface Combatant (ordered 15 units to arrive in the fleet in 2020-40). So you understand, NATO has chosen this gun and shells for their fleets.
Regarding use on land, Vulcano GLR is compatible, for example, with the French 155-mm CAESAR SpH. There are from 12 to 18 of them in the Armed Forces (depending on whether a new party has reached the front). And this same CAESAR with its barrel of 52 calibers can throw Vulcano GLR ammunition at a distance of 70 km, and with IR illumination even hit a moving target! Importantly, according to the manufacturer, the use of Vulcano GLR shells does not affect the life of the barrel.
Nobody says that we are already given this very cool but not cheap ammunition… but it would be amazing. Mr. Macron, we dare you.
Vulcano GLR specifications
Manufacturer – Leonardo
Caliber – 76, 127 and 155 mm
Effective firing range – 60-100 km