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Navy’s Next Generation Projectile Completes Final Set of Long Range Tests

An artist's conception of the Long-Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) fired from a Zumwalt-class destroyer (DDG-1000). BAE Systems Photo

An artist’s conception of the Long-Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) fired from a Zumwalt-class destroyer (DDG-1000). BAE Systems Photo

The Navy’s Long-Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) completed its final round of launch tests ahead of a fiscal year 2014 safety inspection, a BAE Systems official told USNI News on Wednesday.

On the week of Sept. 9, BAE and the Navy’s Program Executive Office, Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) fired nine of the 155mm munitions successfully on the White Sands Testing Range in New Mexico, Darien Kearns with Systems said at the Modern Day Marine conference at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

The tests proved LRLAP rounds could maneuver across a distance of about 45 nautical miles — guided by GPS coordinates — to precisely hit within feet of a stationary target.

“There have been fourteen consecutive test successes since January,” Capt. Mike Ladner, Navy Surface Ship Weapons, major program manager, PEO IWS said in a Thursday statement.
“We’ve now successfully demonstrated almost every first time event possible from a land-based platform.”

The tests prove the efficacy of the Navy’s next generation of guided weapons fired from the sea to support troops ashore.

The rounds will be used from BAE’s Advanced Gun System, currently under development for use on the three planned Zumwalt-class destroyers (DDG-1000).

Currently, the Navy has a limited capability to offer so-called naval gunfire support to ground troops — primarily Marines — since the service retired the storied Iowa-class battleships (BB-61) shortly following the first Gulf War.

The increased standoff distance Zumwalt’s bring to naval fire support is important to the Navy and the Marine Corps as increasingly sophisticated guided weapons threaten ships closer to shore.

The Navy’s current Mk-45 five-inch guns have an unguided range at 13 nautical miles, compared to the more than 60 nautical mile range of the LRLAP.

The ultimate utility of the Zumwalt’s is in question, however. With only three planned for the fleet, it’s still unclear how and when the Navy will employ the ships in support of troops on the ground.

BAE has taken lessons learned from the LRLAP and applied them into a round that could be used in the fleet’s current Mk-45s, as well as Army and Marine Corps artillery.

The Multi Service – Standard Guided Projectile (MS-SGP) program, internally funded by BAE, is currently undergoing tests with the Army for the service’s M777 and M109 artillery pieces under a limited research contract with the service.

BAE claims the MS-SGP can be included on current Navy ships with minimal modification to the ship.

The Navy plans to give a safety certification for LRLAP by 2014 ahead of a planned low-rate initial production (LRIP) of 22 rounds by 2015.

  • Secundius

    Install the Rheinmetall 6.1-inch (155mm/52-caliber) Autocannon Gun Mount. And yo get an increased range of 73.86-nautical miles, using the LRLAP projectile.

  • Dan

    Billions of dollars for a 45 NM gun, pathedic. I will again refer readers to 21st century battleship reportedly give Iowa class 16″ guns a range of 460-500 miles. Because its new doesn’t always mean its better, it amazes me how the battleship class intiminates the aircraft carrier advocates and the Zumwalt believers. It is amazing how much power a desk jockey has.

    • Horn

      You obviously don’t understand physics very well, or history. The Mark 7 guns of the Iowa had a range of about 23.5 miles. 500 miles would be like shooting from the Gulf of Mexico and hitting somewhere in Kentucky.

      • Dan

        Horn, I understand physics and history, I was simply relaying information from an article. You are probably one of those people who believe everything at face value, read the article, you might learn something. What one are you? Aircraft carrier advocate or Zumwalt fan. Oh and by the way, if the round went ballistic, well I don’t understand, only you do. The Zumwalts will be just like another classic waist of money, just like the Seawolfs. 500 miles, would be like shooting from the Gulf of Mexico and hitting Kentucky somewhere, wow, I would have probably used a different example, you know, not shooting our own country that is. 500 miles is 500 miles, no matter what direction the barrel is pointed, simple physics?

  • aniptofar

    Does anyone really think a zumwalt is going to be within 45 miles of an enemies shore line?

    • Dan

      Yes, yes I do.

  • Curtis Conway

    I believe we use the same format fuse in naval artillery as the USA does. If so the XM1154 on a round with the rocket boost with stabilizing fins should do the trick. When do we test it?