Guns Re­main in Navy’s Fu­ture Plans

Com­pan­ion sys­tems hav­ing both the gun and the mis­sile launcher is the trend which may change by 2030, only if the mis­sile costs and sizes drop dras­ti­cally and the num­bers stored on­board can be in­creased sub­stan­tially. like­wise, the elec­tro­mag­netic rail gu

SP's NavalForces - - FRONT PAGE - Rear Ad­mi­ral (Retd) Dr S. Kul­shrestha

Com­pan­ion sys­tems hav­ing both the gun and the mis­sile launcher is the trend which may change by 2030, only if the mis­sile costs and sizes drop dras­ti­cally and the num­bers stored on­board can be in­creased sub­stan­tially.

“The kind of fire sup­port that the Marines need for ma­noeu­vre ashore in the lit­torals is not the tac­ti­cal Tom­a­hawk, it’s the kind that comes from a gun....We don’t have it [even though] the re­quire­ments have been ar­tic­u­lated.... We have a hard re­quire­ment for a gun. We are not go­ing to fall off from that re­quire­ment.”

Ñ Lt Gen­eral Emil Bedard, USMC, Deputy Com­man­dant for Pro­grams

STuD­IeS WeRe CAR­RIeD OuT in the united States to meet the re­quire­ments of the uS marines, af­ter the mas­sive bat­tle­ships of Iowa class re­tired. It was con­cluded that naval gun­fire sup­port had been cru­cial dur­ing the past op­er­a­tions. larger cal­i­bres pro­vide sup­port at much larger ranges and are es­sen­tial for de­stroy­ing for­ti­fied po­si­tions. To achieve sim­i­lar ef­fects in sup­press­ing the enemy, a much greater num­ber of rounds would have to be fired from smaller cal­i­bre guns like the mK 45 (five-inch). Dur­ing pro­tracted war, the large cal­i­bre guns outshine the mis­siles and smaller cal­i­bre guns be­cause of large re­place­ment costs of the mis­siles, much less lethal­ity of smaller cal­i­bre rounds as well as the large num­ber of both the mis­siles and rounds re­quired to be stored on­board. With the ad­vent of pre­ci­sion guid­ance in larger cal­i­bre rounds, col­lat­eral dam­age has been con­sid­er­ably re­duced. The pen­e­tra­tion abil­ity in case of hard tar­gets is prac­ti­cally as good as ord­nance de­liv­ered by air. The air op­er­a­tions in high threat en­vi­ron­ments are hin­dered by avail­abil­ity, mis­sion pri­or­i­ties, weather, as well as pro­hib­i­tive costs. All th­ese make the large cal­i­bre gun a very cost ben­e­fi­cial so­lu­tion in naval sur­face fire sup­port (NSfS).

The naval gun con­tin­ues to be en­trenched in its po­si­tion as the main work­horse ar­ma­ment on­board ships of the ma­jor navies. De­spite some promis­ing de­vel­op­ments in the re­cent past, the naval gun is likely to re­main the main­stay at least till 2025 if not till 2040. Promis­ing de­vel­op­ment on the laser weapon sys­tem (laWS), whose pro­to­type is go­ing to be po­si­tioned on­board uSS Ponce next year, may lead to a very cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion against small boats and uAVs, but it can­not re­place the naval gun in all its roles. The elec­tro­mag­netic rail gun ap­pears promis­ing and can fiuH QRQ-HxSORVlyH VKHOOV WR ODuJH GlVWDQfHV (more than 100 km) with great ac­cu­racy at ve­loc­i­ties up to 7.5 mach, but it is some time away from the pro­to­type stage. The mis­siles, de­spite their fall­ing price can­not PDWfK WKH fRVW eHQH­fiWV DIIRuGHG ey WKH tra­di­tional naval gun. In the in­terim, tech­no­log­i­cal strides in gun shells and fuses have demon­strated very high ranges (more than 100 km) and ac­cu­ra­cies. Oto me­lara is de­vel­op­ing Vul­cano and DART mu­ni­tions for 127/64 gun and 76/62 Strales. The lon­grange land at­tack pro­jec­tile (lRlAP) for the ad­vanced gun sys­tem (AGS) mounted on Zum­valt class de­stroy­ers of the uS Navy is be­ing de­vel­oped by BAe Sys­tems.

Ad­vanced Gun Sys­tem (AGS)

The 155mm (six-inch) ad­vanced gun sys­tem, man­u­fac­tured by BAe Sys­tems (minQHDSROlV), lV lQWHQGHG WR fiOO WKH JDSV lQ QDyDO JXQ­fiuH VXSSRuW uROH RI WKH 86 1Dyy in pro­vid­ing a heavy vol­ume, pre­cise and VXVWDlQHG JXQ­fiuH VXSSRuW WR IRufHV DVKRuH. The gap has oc­curred due to de­com­mis­sion­ing of the Iowa class bat­tle­ships, which had the huge 16-inch guns. The ships could pro­vide mas­sive sup­port to forces in NSfS role and could sus­tain hits due to pro­tec­tion by heavy ar­mour plat­ing.

The AGS was ini­tially known as the ver­ti­cal gun for ad­vanced ships (VGAS). How­ever, the uS Navy de­cided to go in for the con­ven­tional tur­ret de­sign since the VGAS ZRXOG KDyH eHHQ DeOH WR fiuH RQOy JXlGHG

mu­ni­tions and could not have utilised the con­ven­tional un­guided pro­jec­tiles. The AGS ZRXOG eH fiWWHG RQ WKuHH ZXPZDOW (DDG 1000) class de­stroy­ers to sup­port the naval VXuIDfH fiuH VXSSRuW (16)6) PlVVlRQV. 7KH AGS will in­cor­po­rate the AGS in­tra-ship rear­ma­ment sys­tem (AIRS) for load­ing of am­mu­ni­tion and safely mov­ing AGS pal­lets be­tween the gun mag­a­zineÕs pal­let hoist DQG WKH fllJKW GHfN. 7KH $,56 lV DQ DOO-HOHftric sys­tem with per­for­mance in sea con­di­tions up to Sea State 3. up to 10 rounds per PlQXWH fDQ eH fi­uHG IuRP HDfK JXQ IuRP an au­to­mated 304 round mag­a­zine. eight lRlAP are pal­leted along with their pro­pel­lant charges. Thus with fully pal­leted lRlAP am­mu­ni­tion and au­to­mated mag­a­zines, the Zumwalt class would pro­vide ac­cu­rate and SuRORQJHG JXQ­fiuH VXSSRuW DVKRuH. 7KH $G6 is be­ing man­u­fac­tured at three lo­ca­tions name­lyÑ Cor­dova, Alabama; fri­d­ley, min­nesota; and louisville, Ken­tuckyÑ and is meet­ing the ship sched­ules. The AGS mag­a­zines and guns have al­ready been de­liv­ered for DDG-1000 to Bath Iron Works. The other two ships are un­der var­i­ous stages of de­liv­ery as per the re­quire­ments of the yard.

The lRlAP am­mu­ni­tion is be­ing de­vel­oped by BAe louisville and lock­heed martin mis­sile and fire Con­trol, Or­lando, florida. The lRlAP is ca­pa­ble of hit­ting tar­gets at a range of 137 km with the rocket booster as­sisted launch. It is multi-piece am­mu­ni­tion and the shell is loaded with mod­u­lar launch charges and rocket booster. This en­ables in car­ry­ing out mul­ti­ple rounds, si­mul­ta­ne­ous im­pact (mRSI) at­tack, in which by ad­just­ing the launch­ing charge and el­e­va­tion up to six shells, it can hit the tar­get within two sec­onds or hit dif­fer­ent tar­gets if se­lected. The shell weight is 11 kg, while the weight of the com­plete round is 102 kg with a length of 88 lQfKHV. 7KH /5/$3 GHSORyV lWV fiQV DIWHu HmHf­tion from the bar­rel and is guided by a com­bi­na­tion of global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem (GPS) and in­er­tial nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem (INS). Be­ing rocket boosted, the CeP is be­tween 20 and 50 me­tres. This may be im­proved in fu­ture by the in­cor­po­ra­tion of semi-ac­tive laser seeker. The Zumwalt class thus packs a mas­sive punch through its two AGS mount­ings.

How­ever, since the AGS de­sign is spe­flfif WR WKH ZXPZDOW fODVV, lW fDQQRW eH uHWuR­fiWWHG RQ DQy RI WKH HxlVWlQJ VKlSV; B$( has there­fore come up with 155mm AGS/lWH ($G6-/). 7KH $G6-/ fDQ fiuH WKH /5/$3 round up to a range of 74 nau­ti­cal miles at the rate of six rounds per minute for ODQG WDuJHWV DQG DOVR eH DeOH WR fiuH D KlJK ca­pac­ity bal­lis­tic 155mm ASuW pro­jec­tile (ASuWP). The AGS-l can store up to 240 lRlAP and 48 ASuWP. It is claimed that it can be tai­lored to suit ex­ist­ing ships.

Mk 45 Mod 4, 5”/62-Cal­i­bre Gun Sys­tem Up­grade

7KH 86 1Dyy KDV eHHQ XVlQJ WKH fiyH-lQfK gun vir­tu­ally since World War II; this gun packs in a more pow­er­ful punch with its heav­ier shell burst charge than other sim­i­lar sys­tems. The new vari­ant 5Ó/62-cal­i­bre com­prise a longer bar­rel l62 mark 36 JXQ fiWWHG RQ WKH 0DuN 45 PRXQW. 7KH JXQ is used in anti-sur­face, anti-air­craft and

The LRLAP is ca­pa­ble of hit­ting tar­gets at a range of 137 km with the rocket booster as­sisted launch. It is multi-piece am­mu­ni­tion and the shell is loaded with mod­u­lar launch charges and rocket booster.

NSfS roles. It is cur­rently man­u­fac­tured by BAe Sys­tems min­neapo­lis, min­nesota. ,W lV KDV eHHQ GHVlJQHG IRu fi­ulQJ ORQJHu range mu­ni­tions while re­tain­ing the abil­lWy WR fiuH DOO WySHV RI HxlVWlQJ DPPXQlWlRQ. The 5Ó/62-cal­i­bre gun has bet­ter main­te­nance pro­ce­dures and im­proved anti-air and anti-sur­face ca­pa­bil­ity. Apart from a ORQJHu eDuuHO, WKH PRGl­fifDWlRQ lQfOXGHV D dig­i­tal con­trol sys­tem and an am­mu­ni­tion recog­ni­tion sys­tem. It also has re­designed gun shield, strength­ened mount and a bet­ter bar­rel. The gun is in use on eight cruis­ers of the CG47 class and 30 de­stroy­ers of the Ar­leigh Burke class. The range with con­ven­tional shell is about 15 miles and WKH uDWH RI fiuH lV 16-20 uRXQGV SHu PlQXWH.

A new pro­jec­tile, the stan­dard guided pro­jec­tile (SGP), is be­ing de­vel­oped by BAe Sys­tems on lines of the lRlAP for this gun.

The SGP is pro­pelled by a rocket booster and is GPS/INS guided. The unique fea­ture of the 127mm shell is that it can be re­tarJHWHG lQ-fllJKW WKuRXJK G36 XSGDWlQJ DQG can thus tackle mov­ing tar­gets. It is likely WR KDyH D uDWH RI fiuH RI DeRXW 10 uRXQGV SHu minute and a cu­mu­la­tive er­ror of prob­a­bil­ity (CeP) of about 10 me­tres at full range.

Close-in Weapon Sys­tem

A close-in weapon sys­tem (CIWS) is fun­da­men­tally de­signed as a last ditch mea­sure to tar­get in­com­ing anti-ship mis­siles/air­craft. CIWS gun sys­tems have suf­fered from some draw­backs as com­pared to CIWS mis­sile sys­tems namely: ef­fec­tive range of gun sys­tems is less than 4,500 me­tres, sim­u­la­tion stud­ies have put the ef­fec­tive kill dis­tance be­tween 500 me­tres and 800 me­tres, which gives an in­ter­cep­tion time of about half a sec­ond against su­per­sonic anti-ship cruise mis­siles (ASCms) and im­plies that frag­ments from the de­stroyed mis­sile could still hit the ship caus­ing dam­age to man and ma­te­rial above the wa­ter­line. There is also a prob­a­bil­ity that the mis­sile on be­ing hit may not de­vi­ate suf­fi­flHQWOy IuRP lWV SDWK, IXuWKHu WKH &,:6 JXQ sys­tems take time to train on other mis­siles which may be tar­get­ing the ship. lastly, gun sys­tems are un­able to tar­get mis­siles which use way point tar­get­ing.

How­ever, de­spite the dis­ad­van­tages, CIWS gun sys­tems have been re­tained as a ter­mi­nal ef­fort to tackle ASCms. In fact CIWS to­day em­ploys both guns as well as mis­siles. Some ma­jor CIWS are: mk 15 Pha­lanx (Raytheon, uSA), Goal­keeper (Thales Naval, Nether­lands), DARDO (Breda and Oto me­lara, Italy) and the AK 630 (AK Tu­la­mashza­vod OAO, Rus­sia). The uS Navy has about 250 of the RaytheonÕs mk 15 mod 21-28 Pha­lanx CIWS au­ton­o­mous com­bat sys­tems mounted on the uS naval ships. It can be used also against small craft and for anti-air war­fare. The Pha­lanx Sys­tem is de­signed as stand-alone in­te­grated sys­tem, en­com­pass­ing search (Ku band radar and elec­tro-op­tic), de­tec­tion, tar­get dec­la­ra­tion, WuDfNlQJ, WKuHDW HOHyDWlRQ, HQJDJHPHQW, fiuH con­trol and kill as­sess­ment. This en­sures the rapid re­ac­tion time re­quired for CIWS. Thus it can also be utilised by bolt­ing to decks of ships which do not have any type of com­bat sys­tem. It has six ma­jor as­sem­blies namely radar and servo as­sem­bly, gun as­sem­bly, mount and train drive plat­form, bar­bette equip­ment as­sem­bly, elec­tron­ics en­clo­sure and the lo­cal and re­mote con­trol pan­els. The search plat­form is hor­i­zon­tally sta­bilised and at­tached to a ver­ti­cal gyro for sort­ing and cor­re­lat­ing the tar­gets ac­cord­ing to range, range rate and an­gu­lar po­si­tion. The search an­tenna has stand­ing wave an­ten­nas mounted to search plat­form for giv­ing el­e­va­tion cov­er­age. The track an­tenna has its own rate in­te­grat­ing gy­ros.

The heart of the Pha­lanx sys­tem is the ver­sa­tile m61A1 20mm Gatling gun, providlQJ D uDWH RI fiuH eHWZHHQ 3,000 DQG 4,500 uRXQGV SHu PlQXWH, fi­ulQJ VSHflDOOy GHVlJQHG high ki­netic en­ergy rounds. The gun is elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled and pneu­mat­i­cally driven. It con­sists of a ro­tat­ing clus­ter of six bar­rels with a breech bolt for each bar­rel. The round is a 20mm mK 149 ar­mour pierc­ing dis­card­ing sabot which is a sub-cal­i­bre, spin sta­bilised tung­sten pen­e­tra­tor.

7KH ODWHVW PRGl­fifDWlRQ (WKH BORfN 1B fRQ­fiJXuDWlRQ) fDWHuV WR GHIHQfH DJDlQVW asym­met­ric threats such as un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles (uAVs), small, fast sur­face fuDIW DQG VORZ-fly­lQJ DlufuDIW. $Q lQWHJuDWHG for­ward-look­ing in­frared (flIR) sys­tem has been in­cor­po­rated to en­able this fea­ture. It also has an op­ti­mised gun bar­rel (OGB) for closer ord­nance dis­per­sion. The OGB can also use en­hanced lethal­ity car­tridges (elC) for bet­ter tar­get pen­e­tra­tion. The mark 244 mod 0 elC has a longer ef­fec­tive range as it uses a heav­ier op­ti­mised tung­sten al­loy pen­e­tra­tor. In­ci­den­tally, the un­der trial SeaRAm mk 15 mod 31 CIWS is also based upon the Block 1B Pha­lanx with the gun sys­tem be­ing re­placed by the RIm 116 rolling air­frame mis­sile (RAm). It is de­signed as a com­pan­ion sys­tem to tar­get su­per­sonic ASCms. It utilises the ex­act deck di­men­sions of the Pha­lanx sys­tem and so can be mounted con­ve­niently on ships. It has an 11-cell RAm launcher. The RAm is a mach 2+ mis­sile with a blast frag­men­ta­tion war­head of 11.2 kg. It has a range of nine km. It can be guided in three modes namely in­frared dual mode en­abled (ra­dio fre­quency and in­frared hom­ing), in­frared only or pas­sive ra­dio fre­quency/in­frared hom­ing.


Guns con­tinue to pro­vide a cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion against tar­gets on land, air and at sea, es­pe­cially with GPS/INS guided lethal am­mu­ni­tion. The uS Navy will con­tinue to equip its ships with naval guns at least till 2025, when the laser weapon sys­tem may take over the tar­get­ing of small craft and uAVs. The elec­tro­mag­netic rail gun with its non-ex­plo­sive shells may not re­place lon­grange heavy guns for some time to come. In case of the CIWS, com­pan­ion sys­tems hav­ing both the gun and the mis­sile launcher ap­pear to be the trend. It may change by 2030, only if the mis­sile costs and sizes drop dras­ti­cally and the num­bers stored on­board can be in­creased sub­stan­tially.

PHOTOGRAPHS: Oto Me­lara, US Navy

Oto Me­lara’s 76/62Strales gun

Laser weapon sys­tem (LaWS) in­stalled aboardthe guided-mis­sile de­stroyer USS Dewey


Long-range land at­tackpro­jec­tile (LRLAP)

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