Armored howitzers of the Fire Support Command have successfully fired several 155mm Excalibur precision-guided projectiles this week, during Exercise Dragon Supremacy at the Swedish Älvdalen firing range. This has proven the complete fire support chain, and cleared the artillery to use the weapons.
The combat brigades of the army, commandos and the marines are units that can work closely with the Fire Support Command during operations. The new projectiles will enable the artillery unit to eliminate enemy targets at a distance of 50 kilometers. Collateral damage is limited because the projectile takes a vertical flight down because of its so-called top attack trajectory.
Thanks to the successful test, the Dutch armed forces are now in the same league with America, Australia, Canada and Sweden. In Europe, the Netherlands is the first NATO country that now has this extremely accurate and powerful artillery weapon.
Flexible, precise, networked and interoperable
Dragon Supremacy is the conclusion of a long-term weapon project. As early as 2015, the Netherlands bought the ammunition from the United States. After that, we noticed minimal cracks in the explosives, and it took several more years before the Excalibur won a place in the arsenal of Fire Support Command.
The approval is an important milestone in the transformation process that is necessary to transform the Dutch artillery from a limited surface weapon to a flexible, precise, networked and interoperable weapon system. A system that attacks targets at great distances and with great accuracy.
Artillery commander Lieutenant Colonel Rienk Sijbrandi said: "Excalibur could change the occurrence of Dutch units. I see it as a switch that we all have to make. This weapon really gives us the capacity to give content to deep strike operations. So, we will not wait for enemy units to reach our infantry, but will take them out much earlier. And the great thing is that during operations we can guarantee the commitment 24 hours a day. "
The Dragon Supremacy validation exercise provided a lot of valuable information about the use of the Excalibur for all participating parties. Not only about the loss of the projectile, but also about the use in a Dutch armored howitzer, the elaboration on various goals and the cooperation with forward observers.