When fired from 5-inch powder guns, the hypervelocity projectiles achieves a speed of roughly Mach 3, which is roughly half the speed it achieves when fired from EMRG, but more than twice the speed of a conventional 5-inch shell fired from a 5-inch gun. This is apparently fast enough for countering at least some ASCMs.
The HVP can kill incoming threats for a mere $86,000 a shot.
Patriot missiles require special launchers and cost roughly $3 million each. The Hypervelocity Gun Weapon System (which comprises the HVP itself plus cannon, fire control, and radar) won’t replace high-cost, high-performance missiles, but it could provide an additional layer of defense that’s cheaper, more mobile, and much harder for an enemy to destroy.
Real-world reliability rates and “shot doctrine” require firing two interceptors at each incoming threat, an adversary can probably run us out of ammo by firing half as many offensive weapons as we have interceptors.
A weapon with a 10 percent Probability of Kill per shot has a 90 percent chance of killing the target if you fire it 22 times.
The AGS uses the same 155 mm caliber as most American field artillery forces, although it is unable to fire the same ammunition. Instead, a new range of ammunition was developed for this weapon. The gun barrel is 62 calibers long, and is able to fire the entire magazine (300+ rounds) with an average rate of fire of ten rounds per minute using a water cooled barrel. The AGS is to be mounted in a turret specifically designed for the Zumwalt class destroyer with fully automated ammunition supply and operation. The turret itself is designed to be stealthy, allowing for the entire length of the barrel to be enclosed within the turret housing when not firing.
A primary advantage of the AGS over the existing Mark 45 5″ gun which equips most major surface combatants of the US Navy is its increased capability for supporting ground forces and striking land targets. With a 10-round per minute capacity, it offers the ability to deliver firepower close to that of a battery of six 155 mm howitzers. This initial strike fire power is possible by using a multiple round simultaneous impact (MRSI) firing tactic and does not equal the sustained fire power. This will increase the utility of vessels equipped with the weapon, especially in areas in which the US Navy exercises absolute sea supremacy.
The development of new ammunition for the AGS under the name Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) is another major advance offered by the AGS program; it features separate projectile and propellant portions. The munitions are to be highly accurate, with a circular error probable (CEP) of 50 m (160 ft) or less. Lockheed Martin’s flight test of the munition in July 2005 had a reported a flight distance of 59 nautical miles (109 km; 68 mi).
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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