Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), believes new US military technology like railguns will debut far earlier than expected and will nullify North Korea’s missile regime.
South Korea will get boosted defense against North Korean nuclear threats on its three current lines of efforts: deterrence through preemption, interception, and retaliation.
The main focus is AI and autonomy which will lead to a new era of human-machine collaboration. There is also the emergence and development of combat lasers and railguns.
The LRLAP (Long Range Land Attack Projectile) is almost ten times the cost of a railgun hypervelocity projectile (HVP), but doesn’t match the railgun’s expected range. The HVP can also be made compatible with both the AGS and the 5-inch guns on USN’s cruisers and destroyers.
The HVP is a 10kg kinetic energy round, which means that the damage it does depends on its impact speed. A Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile packs a 450kg high explosive warhead, has a range in excess of 1,500km and costs about US$1.1million apiece.
The USN’s new-generation anti-ship cruise missile (LRASM) is stealthier than a Tomahawk, has a ship-penetrating warhead, and still has a range in excess of 900km.
The Hypervelocity Gun Weapon System is investigating the possibility that even 5-inch cannons will be able to shoot down missiles using the HVP. By the time the railgun is actually operational, it might be less of a game changer and more of an incremental upgrade.
Improved Conventional system LRLAP
Lockheed is developing the rocket assisted 155mm Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP). It is the primary projectile of the Advanced Gun System (AGS), the main armament of the U.S. Navy’s next-generation DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer. It provides long-range off-shore precision fire support to Marine Corps and Army forces engaged in expeditionary assaults or littoral urban operations.
The 155mm LRLAP is both the most accurate and longest-range guided projectile in U.S. Navy history, with a maximum range in excess of 63 nautical miles. It’s precision and near vertical angle of fall enables the Warfighter to defeat targets in the urban canyons of coastal cities with minimal collateral damage.
The LRLAP system provides high-volume fire support at a rate of 10 rounds per minute through the depth of the magazine. It uses the world’s most advanced, g-hardened electronics—including a global positioning system and inertial measurement unit—to withstand the punishing gun-launch environment.
155mm LRLAP provides single strike lethality against a wide range of targets, with three times the lethality of traditional 5-inch naval ballistic rounds—and because it is guided, fewer rounds can produce similar or more lethal effects at less cost. LRLAP has the capability to guide multiple rounds launched from the same gun to strike single or multiple targets simultaneously, maximizing lethal effects.
Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP)
SOURCES – National Interest, The Strategist, Lockheed Martin