Artillery gun projectiles are gun-launched indirect-fire projectiles that are typically unguided. They can be generally described as a steel cylinder with a tapered pointed nose and possibly a tapered ‘boat tail’ at the base. The nose of the munition is often fitted with a fuze, typically bringing the munition to a conical point.

Artillery projectiles most often feature a thick-walled body and a driving band which engages with a barrel’s rifling. Generally, thick-walled fragments account for most of the post-explosion remnants of a high explosive artillery gun projectile which functions as intended.

Such projectiles are fired from artillery guns. These are generally heavy indirect-fire weapons that are loaded from the breech and feature a rifled barrel. An artillery gun projectile is fired by opening the gun’s breech, loading the projectile (and, in some cases, a separate cartridge case, propellant charge, and/or primer), closing the breech, and firing a mechanism which strikes the primer. Once the primer is struck, it ignites the propellant charge, which accelerates the projectile through the barrel. Rifling in the barrel imparts spin to the projectile, ensuring it flies point-first toward the target with relative accuracy. In flight, unguided artillery projectiles follow a ballistic trajectory.

Artillery guns are used to provide fire support to armour and infantry and most often offer a medium-range option for artillery weapons, between mortars and rocket artillery. They are often used in salvo fire, with multiple weapons firing simultaneously.

Artillery gun projectiles have a typical range of between 30 and 40 kilometres, making them a medium-range munition.

Guided artillery projectile

An artillery projectile that uses some form of precision guidance to correct its trajectory during flight, increasing its accuracy and precision.

Unguided artillery projectile

An artillery gun projectile which cannot alter its trajectory during flight.