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Army artillery testing in Arizona aimed at shooting farther

Army artillery arizona.jpg
Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-16 13:02:43-05

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) - The Army is testing new ways to enable its artillery to shoot many miles farther as the U.S. military prepares for the possibility of large-scale conflict after years of focusing on counter-insurgency warfare.

The Yuma Sun reports the Army's Extended Range Cannon Artillery program is testing a modified M109 self-propelled howitzer with a cannon tube nearly 30 feet (9 meters) long, a new breech and a chamber redesigned to accommodate more propellant.

Col. John Rafferty says the testing at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground is aimed at being able to defeat potential adversaries with artillery that out-range their U.S. counterparts.

The Army's 155mm howitzers have a maximum range of about 20 miles (32 kilometers), which can be doubled to 40 miles (64 kilometers) by using advanced rocket-assisted ammunition.

The Sun reports that the current program aims to extend the range to more than 60 miles (97 kilometers).