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Swedish missile among US army's favourites in Iraq

Published: 22 Aug 2008 14:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Aug 2008 14:35 GMT+02:00

A precision control projectile co-developed by a Swedish company has been listed as one of the US Army's prestigious 'Top 10 inventions of 2007'.

Steered by GPS and developed by Swedes, use of the Excalibur artillery projectile has skyrocketed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Christer Henebäck, head of information at BAE System Bofors in central Sweden said it was the first time the company had received such an accolade.

"It's fantastic", he said.

The US Army was so impressed by the weapon that it ordered more than 100 missiles before the Excalibur's development programme was completed. It was subsequently deployed with great success in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The missile works in such a way that the target's GPS co-ordinates are fed into the actual weapon, Ny Teknik reports.

The Excalibur projectile is shot at least 10,000 metres into the air and aimed in the general direction of the target.

At the highest point, wings spread out from the projectile and propel it with precision towards the target.

"To hit a target at 40 kilometres distance one usually needs to fire off around 200 shots. With the Excalibur, one is enough. This also minimizes the chance of injuries to innocent civilians", Henebäck told Ny Teknik.

Excalibur's development cost around 4.5 billion kronor ($702 million) and has been ongoing since 2002. Swedish company BAE Systems Bofors developed the sharp shooter together with the US company Raytheon Missile Systems. BAE Systems Bofors is legally owned by the U.S. registered company BAE Systems Inc.

Each Excalibur projectile is estimated to cost one million kronor, although the price is expected to drop when production is increased later this year.

Claudia Rodas (news@thelocal.se)

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