Bringing in the big gun: Army paves way for “strategic cannon”

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Enlarge / US Army troopers assigned to the Field Artillery Squadron, third Cavalry Regiment, hearth their M777 Howitzer. The Army is wanting for a gun with a bit extra vary—over 1,000 nautical miles.

In 2017, the US Army established a group of cross-functional groups (CFTs) aimed toward quickly pushing ahead key applied sciences to advance the companies’ subsequent technology of capabilities. One of these groups was the Long Range Precision Fires “pilot,” an effort to develop the subsequent technology of Army artillery—together with “deep fires,” an artillery functionality that may strike at strategic targets effectively inside an adversary’s defenses.

That effort has spawned what Army Futures Command chief Gen. John Murray described to Congress final yr as “the Strategic Long Range Cannon, which conceivably could have a range of up to 1,000 nautical miles” (1,150 miles, or 1,850 kilometers).

The Strategic Long Range Cannon program is now advancing via its first set of technical hurdles. Col. John Rafferty, head of the Long Range Precision Fires CFT, advised Defense News in advance of this week’s Association of the US Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting that the Army desires to show a prototype of the gun system by 2023. Currently, the Army is working with the Center for Army Analysis and the Research and Analysis Center at White Sands Missile Range to verify the technical feasibility of the cannon. The Army is making ready to carry out early checks at Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, the website of the Navy’s take a look at vary for naval artillery.

Rafferty advised Defense News that the highway to the full prototype take a look at should cross via “big technology gates” alongside the way. He added, “We’re about to knock down one of those gates with a test at Dahlgren.” Dalhgren has been the website of numerous superior gun checks, together with the Navy’s aborted railgun challenge.

The first take a look at is an early ballistic analysis. But there are a lot greater technical points that lay past that—together with whether or not the vary the Army seeks may be achieved with out the projectiles being too costly to fireplace, as occurred with the Navy’s Advanced Gun System.

But there’s sturdy incentive for the Army to succeed as a result of an extreme-long-range gun may assist take care of the issue posed by adversaries with superior over-the-horizon radar, shore defenses, and air protection methods—similar to the sort being put in place by China in the South China Sea.

“One of the ways to solve that problem is to deliver surface-to-surface fires that can penetrate this complex and disintegrate its network and create windows of opportunity for the joint force to exploit,” Rafferty stated.

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