The U.S. Army has awarded Orbital ATK a $120 million contract for additional production of the Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) for 155mm artillery. Once fielded to the warfighter, PGK will transform conventional 155mm artillery projectiles into a near precision weapon reliably reducing normal artillery dispersion of more than 200 meters to less than 30 meters. This transformation allows highly responsive and precise use of artillery on the modern battlefield.

Today’s battlefield is ever-changing in terms of terrain and engagement criteria. Reducing the risk of friendly and civilian casualties and collateral damage to infrastructure is critical. This combination of constraints often restricts ground commander’s options and sometimes limits use of artillery to engage critical targets. PGK’s ability to reliably reduce artillery dispersion provides the warfighter a level of precision necessary to greatly reduce the risk of collateral damage and put artillery back into the fight.

“Fielding PGK for use with existing artillery projectiles provides soldiers with a distinct battlefield advantage by greatly reducing the inherent dispersion associated with conventional artillery,” said Dan Olson, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s Armament Systems division of the Defense Systems Group. “As a proven and qualified technology, the next step is growing PGK into future precision applications for either existing or new direct and indirect fire weapons systems.”

PGK is a guidance fuze that fits within the fuze well of 155mm high-explosive artillery projectiles, performing in-flight course corrections to greatly reduce artillery dispersion. The Orbital ATK design features a fixed-canard guidance and control approach with gun-hardened electronics and a self-generated power supply. PGK performs all standard fuze functions while also incorporating a “fail-safe” option, preventing a PGK-equipped artillery round from detonating if it does not get close enough to the target.

"The goal was to try to design a fuze that would also provide guidance that would just drop into the existing inventory because the Army has millions of rounds," said Tim Jones, PGK program manager for Orbital ATK. "To build new rounds — and there are programs like that — are very expensive, more than 10 times what PGK would cost."

"Missions were being denied because of collateral damage concerns," Jones said. "The enemy isn't always out in the open, so artillery really had to improve accuracy to stay in the fight to the level the Army wants it to be."

Orbital ATK supplied PGK for use in Afghanistan for training and tactical operations via an urgent materiel release in March 2013. In December 2014, PGK passed First Article Acceptance Testing.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in early 2016 without a production break from the Low Rate Initial Production which began in January 2015.