ATK [ATK] yesterday said it has received a $50 million follow-on contract modification for production of the Mortar Guidance Kit (MGK) under the Army’s Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI) program.

The contract responds to an Army urgent Operational Needs Statement (ONS) and means more precision mortars going to forces in Afghanistan.

ATK was awarded a contract in June 2010 to field an initial quantity of rounds under the Army’s ONS.

Combining GPS guidance and directional control surfaces into a package that replaces standard fuzes, the MGK transforms existing 120mm mortar bodies into precision guided munitions.

This puts organic, precision engagement capability into the hands of local battlefield commanders. The design is based on ATK’s Precision Guidance Kit technology for artillery.

“Delivering affordable precision is a core capability of our business,” said Bruce DeWitt, ATK Advanced Weapons vice president and general manager. “Using our expertise in guidance, fuzing, and gun-hardened electronics, we have proven that the timeline and cost of producing a precision weapon can be greatly reduced. In under a year, we have proven a reliable design, initiated production and fielded a precision weapon. This is truly unprecedented in our industry.”

  • In less than one year, the APMI team met an aggressive schedule to field the rounds for operational assessment in theater, a company statement said. The achievements included the following:
  • Completed sequential environmental testing for performance and safety;
  • Established a production line with capacity to meet deliverable production quantities and quality on time;
  • Passed First Article Acceptance Testing;
  • Executed the necessary Lot Acceptance Testing;
  • Delivered the required quantities on time for shipment to theater; and
  • Received Urgent Material Release (UMR) authorization.

Leading up to the UMR, ATK was awarded a contract in April 2010 for Phase II of the APMI program having successfully completed Phase I, a four-month design, maturation, and demonstration program that concluded with ATK winning a competitive shoot off at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

Raytheon [RTN] and General Dynamics [GD] also were competing on APMI.

At the conclusion of the shootoff, ATK’s MGK was selected as the best-value solution to meet the requirements for the Army’s APMI.

During the competition, MGK demonstrated the ability to achieve a circular error probable (CEP) of less than 10 meters, a substantial improvement over conventional mortars that are accurate to about a 136-meter CEP.