The Official designation of this artillery projectile is a 155MM cannon launched, fin stabilized, terminally laser guided explosive projectile used against hard targets. The article that I read listed the maximum range of this projectile as 16,000 meters. I’m not so sure about the range as it is listed. This projectile was new when I left military service but I seem to remember a maximum range which was much more.
The copperhead operates by detecting a laser signal and guiding itself to it. Once it acquires the signal the fins will adjust themselves to aerodynamically guide the copperhead to its intended target. There are other variables which must be accounted for to make the copperhead function correctly. The observer must operate the laser from within certain parameters to give the copperhead enough time to change its direction. The artillery crew that fires the round must also meet certain operational guidelines in that they must fire it from an area which will also give the round enough time to change direction.
The copperhead was first used in combat during Operation Desert Storm. We first trained with it in the desert and used it successfully during the war. The copperhead would be a small part of the story of the Field Artilleryman’s Desert Storm ring.