Infantry Weapons

Expal ramps up new 155 mm ammunition production

13 November 2018

Spain's Expal is ramping up production of its latest 155 ER02A1 155 mm high-explosive (HE) projectiles after receiving a contract from the Spanish Army in May.The complete family of new EXPAL 155 mm ammunition includes illuminating (left), smoke (middle), and HE (right). (Christopher F Foss)The complete family of new EXPAL 155 mm ammunition includes illuminating (left), smoke (middle), and HE (right). (Christopher F Foss)

Those projectiles are to be delivered over a five-year period beginning in the first quarter of 2019, with a potential two-year extension. These are for use by the Spanish Army's General Dynamics European Land Systems Santa Barbara Sistemas 155 mm/52-calibre APU SBT towed howitzer, and the older US-supplied M109A5 155 mm/39-calibre tracked self-propelled (SP) artillery systems.

The 155 mm HE projectile has a new and more streamlined shape, and can be supplied filled with conventional HE explosive or HE that is insensitive munition (IM)-compliant, with the first production batch being of the former. It can be fitted with a screw-on hollow base (HB) or a screw-on base bleed (BB) unit. The BB is fitted to obtain maximum range and this was selected by the Spanish Army.

Compared with some legacy 155 mm artillery projectiles, the new 155 ER02A1 projectile has a thinner wall thickness for improved fragmentation effect and contains more HE explosive. It can be used in conjunction with the older conventional bag type charge, but Spain will use a modular charge system (MCS), with six being used with the 155 mm/52-calibre ordnance to achieve maximum range. Spain's contract with Expal includes the DM92ES MCS.

While the first 155 ER02A1 projectile is of the HE type, two other carrier rounds are being qualified and are expected to be ordered by the Spanish Army in the future. These can carry multi-spectral smoke canisters (the 155 SMK ER02A1) or illuminating projectiles (the 155 ILLUM ER02A1) in the visual or infrared type.

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