Home » Budget Industry » Document: Report to Congress on Navy Lasers, Railgun and Hypervelocity Projectile


Document: Report to Congress on Navy Lasers, Railgun and Hypervelocity Projectile

The following is the Nov. 6, 2015 Congressional Research Service report Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress.

  • Curtis Conway

    The US Navy will get its greatest return more rapidly, and increase the effectiveness of the force quantitatively, by accelerating the Guide Projectile Program in the 5″ / 155 mm guns on their way to EMRG. I sincerely hope that a new frigate design transpires that incorporates a 5″ gun on an NSC hull, is an introductory platform for a more passive centric combat system, and employs SSLs, that can be an ASW platform, and AAW platform version, in quantity (50+), at 1/2 the cost of a DDG-51 Flt III.

    With respect to the DDG-51 Flt III, it has the upgraded 4160v electrical power generation and transmission/distribution system so the space for energy storage is the question. Guided projectile technology in a 5″/155 mm round is easier than the EMRG due to the G(s) it must withstand. The EMRG technology will be able to withstand the propellant pushed / rocket assist rounds. This will get us further down the road quicker for EMRG and upgrade the entire Surface Combatant Fleet in a single upgrade that is a game changer for the entire fleet.

    • Secundius

      @ Curtis Conway.

      Project cost of New Frigate, ~$641-Million to ~$800-Million USD. for US Design with a 3-inch gun. If Foreign Entry Design ~$950-Million, but probably would mount 5-inch gun…

      • Curtis Conway

        When you look at the potential missile defense (any flavor) capabilities of the hypervelocity projectile (HVP) the USN is concentrating on the larger diameter 5″ / 155 mm, so the 76 mm solution does not look so good for a total force projection upgrade when considering down-year training, logistics, and maintenance cost for our new smaller more austere force. Having sufficient space and weight capability to accommodate the power generation, distribution and storage of electrical power to support solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectiles (HVP) will require a hull large enough to hold all the elements for the new 4160v power system, and with some growth space.

        • publius_maximus_III

          Like a modified stern, Flight III DDG-51, and not a Frigate?

          • Curtis Conway

            The DDG-51 Flt III was solving two problems when they modified the stern. Adding weight to retain stability, and preserving some growth weight. The 4160v power system most likely occupies the previous system spaces with perhaps a little more area needed.

            I wonder what a modified sterm NSC would look like. The premise should be a baseline (floor) capability for all USN surface combatants, and that is they have a reasonable expectation to handle an ASCM or ASBM attack. At present the LCS (and its successor) do not meet this standard. I for one think it a travesty that the USN Chain of Command would place our sailors in such danger. “They will be under an umbrella of protection” we are told . . . just like FFG-7s sent on ISE / show the flag missions of the past ? . . We have heard this story before, even after they neutered the frigates of their Mk 13 launchers. The proliferation of Tactical Ballistic Missiles around the globe is the compelling element in this argument.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Sounds like the LCS was intended as a “tear away jersey” sort of naval combatant, built more from a low cost perspective than as a vessel able to stand and fight when in harm’s way (except perhaps against pirate attack…) Mostly defenseless other than the ability to outrun a pursuer — but it definitely can’t outrun a missile.

            Dunno what a wide-azz Coast Guard Cutter would look like, Curt, but maybe the two services need to collaborate a little more on their future plans for “low end” (Navy) / “high end” (CG) vessels in their respective fleets. Same ocean, right?

          • Curtis Conway

            The LCS reminds me of Benedict Arnold’s Navy in the Great Lakes only our LCS’s will have to face the big boys in the Big Pond, and be in great danger anytime they are ISE Showing the Flag. The proliferation of Tactical Ballistic Missiles, and ASCMs is the compelling element in this argument. The US CoC has just assigned a low risk to that number in the equation, and I would not want to be in the crew that proves them wrong in a far away place. MY NAVY has never done, and would NEVER do, that. It’s a travesty that the Chain of Command has planned it so. Except under desperate situations this should NEVER happen.

            This ‘use cutters and frigates idea’ has been considered in the past and no one followed through. The up-gunned Coast Guard vessels were trimmed down manning wise, and getting weapons systems off to save money, which I believe went to USN vessels. Planning to fail? I recall in the ’80 to have a High Endurance Cutter in formation was not unusual (we had one Hamilton Class off of Iceland with us). When in the US Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) it makes a lot of sense, and they can still perform their mission so attachment to the formation is always a “higher priority can take them away” kind of contingency. However, the Coasties get to experience Battle Group operations with the message traffic and coordination. We have to do this anyway when within environments like the Persian Gulf/Arabian Sea, AND will most likely be doing this in the South China Sea soon. For the USN Frigate to be manufactured and have a well armed High Endurance Cutter look like a frigate is not out of the question, and can really help with combatant count numbers in emergencies, but to make a High Endurance Cutter into a frigate Spec is a little tougher, except in my estimation in the National Security Cutter’s case. The NSC exemplifies a smaller Spruance hull with lots of room for better power & weapon systems, and propulsion engineering upgrades. If the hull is the same with the same infrastructure, propulsion and systems present . . . training, maintenance, and long term logistical costs (USN & USCG via greater MYP buys) are less over time, and readiness and availability is higher. Of course the US Armed Forces do not act and think in this manner. Most of the force is catering to a specific vendor as they dream up the spec and get a job when they get out. COMOPTEVFOR is about the only place that still has integrity wholly in their process in my mind.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            The “Latest” THAAD/SM-3″ Test in October/November 2015. FAILED, Equipment Malfunction was the “Claimed” cause. But some say, it Failed to Track the “Target Drone” Released from a US Air Force C-17…

          • Curtis Conway

            On the MDA website the news release clearly states that the target was tracked by multiple assets but “a failure review is currently underway to investigate the SM-3 anomaly”. The third stage has been going through redesign to address previous problems. May not be fixed?

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Thank You! I stand corrected, someone needs to update those website’s then. News Site’s ONLY. No “Feedback” ALLOWED…

        • Secundius

          @ Curtis Conway.

          US Navy Fleet Goal to date, stands at 308-Ship’s. In 2014, there were 48 Companies signed on for the Frigate Competition in 2019. That Number has been Reduced to ~18 Domestic Design’s and ~5 International Design’s. Navy Requirements, are for ~52 Frigates to be Built, starting around 2020. Cruiser class may Actually Be Reduced from current size of 22 Ships. Also, at LEAST 27 of the Arleigh Burke’s are to be Flight III Modified and/or Built…

  • Rob C.

    HVP sound like more likely to be approved for production than the EMRG sadly. However, given bad history of trying resurrect the Guide Projectile program. HVP may not be all as good as what EMRG’s capacities. Problem is hulls and costs.

    Aside from Zumwalts, there isn’t anything that can provide power generation need to get the EMRG powered enough to fire and shoot down in coming missiles, never mind used for it’s original purpose of providing naval fire support that Marines really need. Modifications to new flight of DDG-51s if remember correct didn’t have power plant capacities utilize the EMRG.

    Mounting this EMRG will likely break the current bank in having design new ship to handle them and other weapons systems if they want break decades old using of older weapons systems.

    Using it on say NSC as replacement hull, isn’t viable i my eyes. The design made to civilian standards to keep cost down. It’s not military design, no more than EPTs are.