A Mind-Boggling Gun


I’ve been avoiding writing about this because my supply of expletives needed to regenerate. And, frankly, I’m a bit baffled by the topic – whenever I try to think about this, I wind up with my jaw hanging, scratching my butt, and going, “can there possibly be more to this story that I simply do not understand?”

I’m talking, of course, about the 2 main guns on the USS Zumwalt.

As I’ve described elsewhere, range is the definition of a battlefield. A battlefield is nothing but a place full of things that impact the time and distance between combatants. In warfare, they’re connected beautifully and mysteriously – the amount of time it takes your opponent to come to within striking range of you, and you to them, is not quite everything, but damn near.

It's a missile boat (Source: Popular Mechanics)

It’s a missile boat (Source: Popular Mechanics)

The Zumwalt is the platinum-coated US Navy ship intended to represent the next generation of frigate. It’s inanely expensive, and has had tons of problems with its propulsion system, is behind schedule and hugely overbudget. But that’s all sort of par for the course – the 32 Zumwalt class ships that the navy asked for were going to cost $43 billion, according to the 1999 program plan, but now the navy has capped production at 3 ships, costing $7 billion each. To give you some perspective: that’s more than a nuclear aircraft carrier cost. Even if you adjust for inflation. In “Pay More, Get Less” I described how military boondoggles’ prices are concealed by changing the purchase size: this is the granddady of all Pay More Get Less scams. If any of you are interested in gambling, I’m prepared to take bets that the Zumwalt is going to be the only ship of the class that ever gets built, and the entire budgeted $43 billion is going to stealthily disappear into that boat-shaped hole in the water.

What I wanted to boggle about, today, is the gun. The Zumwalt has 2 guns in addition to its compliment of missiles. Missiles she has a’plenty: 80, in various configurations ranging from Tomahawk cruise missiles (Range: 700+ miles) to RIM 66 standard missiles (range: 70-90 miles) and RIM 162 Sea Sparrow missiles (range: 40+ miles)  It also has 2 guns. The guns are the Advanced Gun System, which does sound very nice. But…

Advanced Gun System Test (Source: Wikipedia)

Advanced Gun System Test (Source: Wikipedia)

It really does sound like a very fine gun indeed. Then the problems begin. It fires a special kind of round. The round is a base-bleed round* which has built-in terminal guidance – i.e.: little rudders that deploy from the shell to direct it towards it target. Spiffy! A marketing genius somewhere called it the “Excalibur” round, not remembering the history of temporary success its namesake experienced.

The “Excalibur” is only $250,000 per shot.

That’s a huge improvement over the original shell the advanced gun system was going to fire, which was $800,000 to $1,000,000 a shot. The LRLAP round was so expensive the navy actually balked at the price, because it was getting embarrassing.

Marines getting ready to spend $250,000 in Iraq (source)

Marines getting ready to spend $250,000 in Iraq (source) (Remember: they’re wearing flip-flops not boots)

Here’s where I start to boggle: it’s a 155mm round. That’s a “typical heavy artillery” round, not the sort of ship-killer that the battleships of yore fired at eachother. The Iowa-class 16″ guns would go through small mountains (literally!) like they were cheese. Of course the navy realized that they don’t need those anymore, since nobody else has a battleship (and the US doesn’t, really, any more either).

Why not?

Here’s where my mind goes into full boggle mode: missiles. Nobody has battleships anymore because of missiles. Anyone with a brain looks at a ship like the Zumwalt or an Arleigh Burke-class Aegis missile  boat and goes “that’d sink a battleship in about the time it’d take for a salvo of cruise missiles to reach it.”

And, indeed, they’d be right! That’s why I listed the range(s) of the various missile options a Zumwalt carries: the guns on a Zumwalt, even with the $1,000,000 base bleed shell, have a range of 80 miles. The tomahawks the Zumwalt can carry have 12 times the range. And the basic missiles it carries have about the same range as the gun.

What’s the gun for?!! It sure as hell isn’t for coastal artillery support, not at $250,000 a shot, and certainly not at $1,000,000 a shot!!

Now That's a shell. 16" Iowa-class gun

Now That’s a shell. 16″ Iowa-class gun

I can only conclude that the Zumwalt has guns because, you know, naval ships have guns. It’s what they do.

The damn thing’s missiles out-range its own guns, yet they’re breaking the piggy bank to be able to fire these wee little high-tech 155mm rounds that cost so much you’d never fire one at a mere insurgent. They cost so much you’d wait until you had a ship to fire them at, except you won’t because your missiles will have sunk any ships before you get into engagement range.

Range is the definition of a battlefield. So you can’t just think about your weapons’ range – you need to look at a possible enemy’s range, as well. For example, the Chinese ship-killer DF-26 missile has a range of 2,000 miles. That’s not a typo. If a Zumwalt was farting around the coast of China, it would be within the Chinese missile envelope for several days before it was within its own range and could attempt to sink part of the asian land-mass or whatever silly thing the navy thinks a Zumwalt is going to do with a super-clever 155mm round with a 40 mile range.

When Musashi went into his sword-fight with Sasaki Kojiro, who used an extra-long blade, he used a longer weapon, a wooden oar. Musashi understood range. The Zumwalt has pretty reasonable-ranged weapons for naval use – a decent long-sword, but is spending money like crazy on its pocket-knife. It’s weird. The only conclusion I can reach is that the Zumwalt is designed to sail up and down the coast of 3rd world countries, firing missiles and an occasional 155mm round at hospitals and cities with insurgents somewhere in them. And, if it’s going to do that, they’d better get the engines to work, first.

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There’s another whole angle to this story. The navy has been talking for some time about putting an electromagnetic cannon – a railgun – on the Zumwalt. I consider this to be largely fictional/aspirational. A kinetic kill-weapon would be even less useful for Zumwalt’s “scare the natives” mission than a 155mm popgun. Worse, railgun rounds are unguided and a fast-moving target might be able to evade beyond-visual-range shots. But mostly, railgun rounds will also be expensive: you need to make them out of fancy stuff to keep them from coming apart under their own velocity, or melting from the friction of cutting through the air.

The whole Zumwalt story is a deep, rich, vein of military WTF. The same navy that is wrestling with the Littoral Combat Ship and Zumwalt is also experimenting with autonomous swarming light craft – basically motorboats that could carry a small missile, torpedo, or bomb, and navigate onto a target collectively using mesh networks to coordinate amongst themselves. So the navy is building these expensive floating boondoggle targets, while also building stuff designed specifically to sink them. An insurgent with a boat full of explosives, attacking a ship while it’s docked, is the most likely threat the Zumwalts will face. But they may be too expensive and unreliable to put in harm’s way in the first place.

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(* Base bleed artillery is cool stuff. You have a recessed region in the back of the shell that contains a gas-producing chemical propellant, which burns as the shell pursues its trajectory. The gas produced by the propellant fills the vacuum that the shell would leave as it tears through the sky, removing the vacuum-drag and giving it much greater range and stability. This technique was invented by rogue Canadian artillery guru Gerald Bull, who produced and marketed the first base bleed shells, which suddenly gave the South African mobile artillery “kalahari ferrari” 10 miles better range than anything else on the field, making it more or less invincible thanks to its stand-off range. Bull was shot to death by the Mossad, for talking to Saddam Hussein about making a gun that could reach Tel Aviv from Iraq. He’s a fascinating character: a textbook example of “real smart but real dumb.”)

National Review: How the Navy’s Zumwalt-Class Destroyers Ran Aground

National Interest: The Chinese DF-26 Missile – What Does the Pentagon Really Think?

Popular Mechanics: The Zumwalt Can’t Fire its Guns Because Ammo is Too Expensive

Popular Mechanics: The Zumwalt Destroyer is Here Now What About The Railgun?

US Naval Institute News: Raytheon Excalibur Round Set to Replace LRLAP Rounds on Zumwalts

PS – US Navy to taxpayers: “What did you want, single payer medicare? LOL!”

Comments

  1. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I figured the only kind of guns they would put on a Zumwalt class would be some high ROF C-WIZ type close defense systems.

    The Excalibur is well tested and used pretty extensively in the field already by the army, so it’s not like they are just using the Zumwalt as an excuse to test it.

    I dunno…seems like another military boondoggle of epically stupid proportions. In other words SNAFU, to use another tried and true military acronym. ;)

  2. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Then again, I’ve been following the F-35 development for years now, and it seems to basically be an airborne version of the Zumwalt, if any of the reports and testing are to be believed.

    In a straight up dogfight, it can’t even seem to compete with an F-16. It doesn’t have the loiter or payload of the A-10, whish is supposedly what it’s replacing, and the technical issues are ridiculous.

  3. cartomancer says

    Does the company that makes the Excalibur guns have powerful lobbyists in the commissioning departments? The only sensible explanation for putting useless and expensive devices on something like this is that doing so will make somebody in the supply chain a substantial amount of money.

  4. says

    Crimson Clupeidae@#1/#2:
    The Excalibur is well tested and used pretty extensively in the field already by the army, so it’s not like they are just using the Zumwalt as an excuse to test it.

    Yup. I can see using Excaliburs in field artillery if you have an unusual requirement for precision. It’s not quite in the cost envelope of a missile but it’s got comparable range, etc. Basically it’s the nose of a missile without the need for a propellant system. Good idea, I guess you can save on some costs that way (but you need something that can handle the instantaneous accelleration of an artillery piece) Those seem like fair tradeoffs.

    I figured the only kind of guns they would put on a Zumwalt class would be some high ROF C-WIZ type close defense systems.

    I am terrified – literally terrified – that some idiot decided Zumwalts don’t need CIWS because “STEALTH” Everyone’s answer seems to be stealth. Which is why the next gen of Chinese missiles also use image-recognition terminal guidance. Only a complete bunch of stupids could not have seen that coming.

    Then again, I’ve been following the F-35 development for years now, and it seems to basically be an airborne version of the Zumwalt, if any of the reports and testing are to be believed.

    It sure sounds like it!! The LCS, F-35, Zumwalt, Osprey, etc. They’re the most expensive crap money can buy, but they don’t appear to work except in small bursts. The F-22 was pretty bad, too, but the F-35 out-bads it terribly.

    My take is that the F-35 is the death of the US Air Force and the Zumwalt and LCS are the end of the navy. The USAF will become a bunch of drone pilots (but they’ll still act like they’re tough warriors) and the navy will be a bunch of missile barges and some carriers full of drones.

  5. says

    cartomancer@#3:
    Does the company that makes the Excalibur guns have powerful lobbyists in the commissioning departments?

    It’s Raytheon. Of course they do!

  6. says

    chigau@#4:
    So that’s where the $600 billion is going.

    What’s scary is that the Zumwalt “only” absorbed a measly $50 billion or so.

    The F-35 absorbed a lot more. And there are the new aircraft carriers. Spoiler: they suck.

  7. says

    Crimson Clupediae@#3:
    I forgot:
    In a straight up dogfight, it can’t even seem to compete with an F-16. It doesn’t have the loiter or payload of the A-10, which is supposedly what it’s replacing, and the technical issues are ridiculous.

    It’s lunchmeat against anything from Russia except old cold war gear, and even the Chinese J-20 ought to be able to spank it. The proponents say “STEALTH…..” (of course they do) but there are problems with that. That’s going to be another posting: stealth is important but range is more important. I’ll avoid spoilers but there are some truly horrible underlying suppositions behind the F-35 program.

    The F-22 had huge problems as well. The last successful US fighter program was the F-16. Actually, the US has had tremendous difficulty producing a good weapons system of any sort since about 1990.

  8. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Yeah, it seems for the last 30 years or so, the military has been all about ‘cool, new, shiny’ and forgot about effective.

    I get it, as an engineer (aerospace even). I get the attraction to hi tech, cool ‘toys of death and destruction’, but to be honest, if it isn’t effective, it’s just throwing good money after bad. That tech may have spill over effects in other military or civilian markets, but it’s original purpose is a clusterfuck.

  9. Siobhan says

    I like how the US is spending more on a shitty boat program than the entirety of Canada’s deficit in 2016.

    Just think, between the F-35 and the Zumwalt, you’d have single-payer healthcare.

  10. says

    Shiv@#10:
    more on a shitty boat program

    It’s not even that good; there’s substantial need for improvement before it’s a shitty boat program. Right now, shitty’d be a big step in the right direction.

  11. Dunc says

    But it’s really really kewl! Doesn’t that get you a +10 damage modifier or something?

    I occasionally suspect that US military procurement is run by a bunch of 12-year old boys. But then I realise that I’m not being cynical enough, and it’s more likely a straight-up grift…

  12. komarov says

    I see you’re way ahead of me with the hospitals. The only other use … ‘use’ … I could think of was a naval gun salute for special occasions. I can practically hear Trump’s inauguration speech now: That salute in my honour cost a huuuuge amount of money. (And that’s why your healthcare has to go.)

  13. says

    It’s possible, even likely, that the story is that you can knock those Chinese missiles out of the sky with that gun. It’s even possible, I suppose, that you CAN knock them out of the sky with it.

    It does seem like a nice gun. I’m amazed that they didn’t wind up with a VERY SIMILAR gun, but chambered for a 158mm round because of reasons.

    Also, Raytheon needs the business after they lost the Antarctic contract.

  14. eddie says

    I watched the sales video for the 155mm gun at the wikipedia page you linked to. It seems they do want it for coastal artillery and they emphasis that it’s ‘affordable’ :-P

    Seems a quarter million bucks is the cost of not accidentally hitting your own troops.

  15. says

    efogoto@#14:
    “It’s inanely expensive” That’s even higher than inSanely expensive, right?

    I was going to write “insanely expensive” and changed it because I don’t think it’s fair to liken anything to do with the Zumwalt to mental health.

  16. says

    Peterbollwerk@#14:
    My dad helped design this ship, so stories like this are always weird. I don’t know how to feel.

    Part of how these things happen is because of distribution of responsibility. Everyone puts their head down and focuses on their part, and a lot of the people doing that are legitimately trying to do a good job on their part. I see it as the balance between bad strategy (why are they building this thing?!) and good tactics (well, if we’re going to build it, I’ll make sure the stealth is as good as possible). I’m sure your dad isn’t allowed to tell any of them, but there are probably some amazing stories he could tell.

    If you’re interested in what he does, there’s a book called “The Yard” which is about making an Aegis boat (Arleigh Burke class) at Bath Iron Works. No matter the outcome, the engineering that goes into making these platinum-plated boondoggles is really impressive.

  17. says

    komarov@#13:
    The only other use … ‘use’ … I could think of was a naval gun salute for special occasions.

    Well, that would actually work.

    But they’d have to get Raytheon to develop a special $500,000 blank round.

  18. says

    eddie@#17:
    Seems a quarter million bucks is the cost of not accidentally hitting your own troops

    Seems like a better idea not to use 155mm for close in fire support. That’s what, you know, close air support aircraft are for: for when you really need a dramatic “friendly fire” incident. 155mm is pretty much always unfriendly.

  19. cartomancer says

    As for the unfortunate implications of the name “Excalibur”, I think it has some way to go before it beats Trojan brand condoms for the prize…

  20. Turi says

    While i do not want to defend the overpriced and overstuffed F35 program, is dogefighting performance a category that is important in Air to Air battles since the development of the (self) guided missile? Just like the Zumwalts guns are outclassed by its missiles, fighter can the extended range of missiles to engage long before any dogefighting could happen or they could even see the enemy fighter. And the F35 can carry a shitload of missiles, 12 AA missiles in the anti air configuration.

  21. says

    Turi@#23:
    The F-35 is complicated. And, since there is nearly $1t at stake over the program, there is a tremendous amount of partisanship, wishful thinking, outright lies (on both “sides”) and it’s hard to really know what to think.

    I’ve done a bit on it in a matter of range but there’s lots and lots more to be said, which I intend to eventually say. My interest is largely in the strategic question of US procurement, which has, uh, not been very good lately. But that’s a discussion I’ll be weaving into other postings here over the next year or however long it takes and I’m around.

    You’re right that dogfighting performance is probably not the parameter we should be assessing the F-35 on.* The premise of the F-35 (as its proponents will cheerfully say!) is STEALTH. They argue that it won’t be necessary for an F-35 to dogfight AT ALL since it’s basically going to fly up, shoot everything down, and fly home. That’s actually a fairly plausible scenario for some battle cases, but it falls horribly on its face in other, more complicated situations. The question is whether the US encounters a hostile power that is capable of creating those more complicated situations. My take on it is: no. F-35s will fearlessly and invisibly prowl the skies and shoot down helpless 1980s-era aircraft that wouldn’t have a chance against an F-16, or probably an F-4, either. The full up war scenarios that result in F-35s becoming a logistical disaster will hopefully (for the world) never materialize. That’s where I start to get worried, though: the US’ strategy appears to be banking on that to a high degree. It’s almost certainly a safe assumption, for now, but eventually it may not be unless the US transitions successfully into a millenia-long global sole power and is able to prevent a credible threat from arising.

    (* Then “what is?” That’s the question. My guess is that the F-35 should be evaluated as a stealthy missile-delivery platform. From that standpoint, it may as well be a schoolbus. That’s fine except there’s a hidden razor blade in the apple of stealth: it only confers advantage on whoever strikes first.)

  22. efogoto says

    Inanely expensive: I liked it originally, but really like it now. I need to be more sensitive to to my unthinking use of such terms as ‘insanely’ because it hurts me not at all to be considerate of others, and English has plenty of alternatives to express what I mean. Thanks. You made me think.

  23. says

    Addendum: I probably did not sufficiently emphasize that the 155MM is a “little bitty shell” in terms of naval artillery. It’s hardly worth carrying on a ship, if the objective is to be able to eventually do fire-missions against land targets. An AC-130 aircraft carries a 105mm howitzer and is a whole lot more mobile and a harder target. If the navy wanted a land target obliterator ship for suppressing 3rd worlders, they should make something that carries a ton of MLRS and a couple turrets of multi-155s and a spotting drone compliment.

    Oh, god, I hope they don’t read this and get ideas.

  24. says

    efogoto@#25:
    Thank you for thinking about that. I personally struggle to avoid using abusive language that I grew up with (“retard”, etc) it’s hard. But I figured out years ago that the best way of being insulting is to use truth as a weapon, rather than invidious comparison. I’ve been (slowly) doing a series on verbal abuse techniques that I call “argument clinic” starting here.

  25. says

    I once read a sci-fi short story (author and title long forgotten) told from the POV of a man (alien?) in a war crimes trial. The story wasn’t about the details of war, but how his planet/empire lost.

    The narrator’s side had technological and financial superiority to their opponents but still lost because his side was obsessed with the next big thing, the next technical marvel, instead of building “good enough” weapons and actually winning the war. They lost due to their own incompetent decisions.

    The story was an allegory of both Nazi Germany and the US in Vietnam, yet it also applies to the US today. But in the current case, it’s more about war profiteers leaving the US incapable of winning due to overpriced junk that can’t do what the military actually needs. At the rate the US is going, in 20 years it’s possible Russia and China could beat the US in a conventional war, made more likely by a (read: the inevitable) US economic collapse.

    And regarding #27, this is why I stick to the Four I’s: inept, inane, incompetent and ill-educated. The words do more to bystanders than the target, making people more likely to agree with and also mock the target.

  26. Dunc says

    It’s possible, even likely, that the story is that you can knock those Chinese missiles out of the sky with that gun.

    No, that’s what a CIWS is for. This thing is designed for over-the-horizon fire at land-based targets, It’s pretty accurate for artillery, but nowhere near accurate enough (or fast enough) for anti-missile use.

  27. says

    basically motorboats that could carry a small missile, torpedo, or bomb, and navigate onto a target collectively using mesh networks to coordinate amongst themselves.

    Sounds suspiciously familiar. I’d love to believe David Weber took out a patent.

  28. says

    Dunc@#29:
    No, that’s what a CIWS is for. This thing is designed for over-the-horizon fire at land-based targets, It’s pretty accurate for artillery, but nowhere near accurate enough (or fast enough) for anti-missile use.

    CIWS: another fine Raytheon product!

    Oh, yeah, thank you, you raised a point I should have made earlier: the horizon at sea is 12 miles, if you’re at the top of a 100′ mast. It’s shockingly close – 2 miles or so – if you’re close to sea level. Even if you assume the deck of a ship is 50 feet up, WTF railgun!?! A railgun is a line of sight weapon and its main value is that its so fast it may as well be a laser beam. Which is another non-starter for naval combat because, to use it, you can’t shoot over the horizon!

    What I’m betting: the “railgun” morphs into is an electromagnetic missile first-stage launcher. Which is really kind of pointless but pleasantly complex and expensive.

    That physicists haven’t been laughing themselves into washboard abs is probably just a sign that all the ones working on defense projects are on the “high tech dole”

  29. says

    Daz: Uffish, yet slightly frabjous@#34:
    didn’t the arms race in the novels at one point produce missiles which used the communication mesh idea so that the entire broadside could change course/speed/evasion-tactic based on continuous updates from individual missiles?

    Ah, yes, right! I remember that. It’s a pretty cool idea.

    Did you know that’s exactly why the F-35 is going to be so amazing some day? They’ll all be part of a meshed communications grid so their fire control is coordinated among aircraft. No more “two missiles for bandit A, none for bandit B” it’s going to work all that out. There are other systems like the Dragonfire mobile mortar, which will do inter-node fire coordination (I believe Dragonfire already does it…) I bet there are wonderful opportunities for hackers to play, there, and anyone in the battle area with a wifi sniffer is going to be able to tell there’s a mobile artillery unit in the vicinity. Someone run patent the 802.11-homing missile, quick!

  30. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    “I’m not sure when Weber came up with the LAC idea! So there may be priority held by Al Quaeda (2000)…”
    Maybe Hollywood? African Queen was filmed in 1951. The original book is from 1935.

  31. komarov says

    Intransitive, you’re probably thinking of Superiority (wiki) by Arthur C. Clarke, which is both wonderful – among my favourites – and indeed apt. The narrator’s emipre falls because his side is all too eager to rely on all-new technologies, complicated and complex and, of course, barely understood. As the war wears on and each new breakthrough is discovered to have unforeseen drawbacks,* they respond by throwing more complex technology at their problems which only makes things worse. The enemy, meanwhile, banks on mass-production of the old and wins by sheer force of numbers.

    *My favourite example is the ‘cloaking device’ which warps space, allowing warships to ‘pop up’ in the middle of their enemies and decimate them. Unfortunately, the ships themselves were being deformed so that spares and ammunition would no longer fit.

    Re: Marcus:

    But they’d have to get Raytheon to develop a special $500,000 blank round.

    Trivial! 5 years and 1 bn$ spent on research and we’re there. Well, give or take a decade and a billion. Oh, and the round will probably cost more like 1.5 M$ a piece and isn’t really a blank, so it can’t be used as such.

    Hey, may another R&D contract could fix that!

  32. jrkrideau says

    @ 31 Marcus Ranum
    I’m not sure when Weber came up with the LAC idea!

    Doesn’t matter when, he was just taking the torpedo boat concept from pre-World War I navel strategy.

  33. Logicus Prime says

    “What’s the gun for?!! It sure as hell isn’t for coastal artillery support”

    It actually was designed to support amphibious landings by the Marines.

    Imagine the absurdity of a honkin’ big stealth ship whose primary purpose is to support amphibious assaults during daylight hours at a maximum of not much more than 100 kilometers offshore without a proper CIWS or the ability to deploy Standard missiles to defend against anti-ship cruise missiles. That’s Zumwalt.

  34. says

    Logicus Prime@#39:
    It actually was designed to support amphibious landings by the Marines.

    A 155? Uh.
    Uh.
    Uh.

    I’m not saying I don’t believe you, but that’s .. goofy. A 155 is a popgun for support artillery. A shipboard MLRS would make much more sense. Except the navy wouldn’t have a, you know, gun. And ships have guns. Even if they’re popguns.

  35. Logicus Prime says

    Here are a couple of sources that support it. I’ve read it many other places but I’ll have to dig around to find it. Note the full name of the recently cancelled ammunition for the AGS: Long Range Land Attack Projectiles. It was supposed to be a ship-based equivalent of a 155mm howitzer.

    “The ship was conceived to support Marines ashore from the littorals with twin 155mm guns firing guided rocket-assisted Long Range Land Attack Projectiles (LRLAP) more than 60 miles.” – https://news.usni.org/2016/05/23/zumwalt_mix_challgnges

    “The U.S. Navy says its Zumwalt-class destroyers, state-of-the-art ships designed to bombard targets on land, could be equipped with the Excalibur precision-guided artillery round originally developed for land forces.” – http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a24310/zumwalt-destroyer-excalibur-ammunition/

  36. Logicus Prime says

    BTW, the Navy is looking at using the 155mm M982 Excalibur round as a replacement for LRLAP. But because Excalibur rounds are not rocket assisted like LRLAP, the maximum range is reduced to around 40 kilometers. This means that a multi-billion dollar Zumwalt class destroyer will be extremely vulnerable if used as originally intended because it will be in visible range from just about any aircraft flying over land.

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