In late 2016 we found out the US Navy couldn’t fire its awesome new gun aboard the USS Zumwalt because the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) rounds cost nearly a million dollars. Shortly after USNI reported the Navy was looking to replace the LRLAP with Raytheon’s Excalibur Projectile. The only problem was the Excalibur’s range was 30 miles, half of the LRLAP’s range.
BAE Systems and Leonardo announced last week that they are working together on a new low-risk, cost effective, large caliber precision-guided munition for the Zumwalt’s Advanced Gun System. The ammunition will be a part of Leonardo’s Vulcano long-range guided family. The range of the Vulcano long-range guided ammunition is around 60 miles. Read the full press release below.
The two companies anticipate offering new adaptations of Leonardo’s Vulcano — a family of gun-launched munitions that exceed the performance of currently available precision-guided projectiles — in a variety of gun systems, including the BAE Systems-built Advanced Gun System (AGS) and the Mk 45 naval gun. The AGS is currently on board the U.S. Navy’s Zumwalt class of destroyers, and the Mk 45 is widely used by the Navy and allied nations.
“As a leading global provider and integrator of all major caliber weapon systems, we are expertly positioned to integrate mission-driven, advanced, and affordable munitions like Vulcano into land and naval gun systems,” said Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems.
“The Vulcano long-range guided ammunition family — part of the Leonardo’s global offer of naval, land-based, and aeronautical weapon systems for customers worldwide — represents state-of-the-art technology with its unmatched range, accuracy, and effectiveness, which was successfully demonstrated in testing,” said Gianpiero Lorandi, managing director at Leonardo Defence Systems. “Not only is it compatible with 155-mm land and 5-inch naval gun systems, Vulcano can also be easily integrated into current and future platforms such as the AGS — a major benefit.”
The new adaptations of Vulcano will also focus on providing solutions for land-based 155-mm artillery systems, including all variants of the M777 and M109 howitzers for the U.S. military and allies around the world. In testing, the 155-mm Vulcano achieved launch accelerations that support maximum engagement ranges similar to distances required for the former Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) program. The Mk 45 naval gun offers the potential to fire the 5-inch Vulcano at 20 rounds per minute to a maximum range over three times greater than existing munitions.
As part of this effort, BAE Systems and Leonardo will also explore offering an enhanced guidance and navigation unit, including semi-active laser and infrared seeker options designed to ensure pinpoint accuracy and provide moving-target capability to address air-, land-, and sea-based threats from land and naval weapons. Both companies will continue to independently offer land and naval guns beyond this joint work.