Monday, June 07, 2021

If True, It's a Mistake: "It May Be the End of the Line for the Navy's Hypervelocity Projectile"

Reported at Military.com by Hope Hodge Seck It May Be the End of the Line for the Navy's Hypervelocity Projectile

The hypervelocity projectile, however, seemed to gain its own momentum after officials realized it could be paired not only with the railgun, but also with existing ship deck guns to provide high-speed, low-cost firepower.

The projectile's most recent public outing came in 2018, when the guided-missile destroyer Dewey fired 20 of the rounds from an Mk 45 deck gun during the massive Rim of the Pacific exercise.

"You can get 15 rounds a minute for an air defense mission, as well as a surface-to-surface mission," Bryan Clark, then of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told USNI News in 2019. "That adds significant missile defense capacity when you think that each of those might be replacing a [Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile] or a [Rolling Airframe Missile]. They're a lot less expensive."

The story also noted that the gun-launched guided projectile, or GLGP, was being considered as a round for ground-based Army and Marine Corps 155mm howitzers.

But while GLGP might be less expensive than some missile systems, which can cost $1 million to $2 million per round, it was still far from cheap. A 2020 Congressional Research Service report noted that each of the rounds cost about $85,000 in 2018 dollars.

And despite the promise GLGP seemed to hold for a range of multi-service uses, the CRS report noted that fielding to ships would involve integrating the round with existing combat systems, and additional tests and war-gaming. After five years in development, these follow-on steps have yet to take place.

So, for $1,000,000, you could buy 11 of these rounds (@$90,000 each) and 22 for $2 million? And you can keep them in the ammo locker and reload at sea?

More here.

Way back in 2014, RADM Klunder, then Chief of Naval Research, spoke of the "rail gun" ammo cost here:

"This {the projectile} costs right here about $25,000," Klunder said.

Both the cost and size -- it weighs 23 pounds -- mean they can be bought and stored aboard ships by the hundreds.

"Someone may be sending a multimillion-dollar missile at us, and I'm going to take it out with a $25,000 projectile round," Klunder said. "I'll take that trade every single day."

Well, according to Ms. Seck's report, killing this projectile will save "$5.9 million." Wonder what the cost in ships and sailors might be?

See the 2018 CRS Report, Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Gun-Launched Guided Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress. here (emphasis added)

This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three new ship-based weapons being developed by the Navy—solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG),1and the gun-launched guided projectile (GLGP), also known as the hypervelocity projectile (HVP)—that could substantially improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against surface craft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and eventually anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs).

Any one of these three new weapons, if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a “game changer” for defending Navy surface ships against enemy missiles and UAVs. If two or three of them are successfully developed and deployed, the result might be considered not just a game changer, but a revolution. Rarely has the Navy had so many potential new types of surface-ship air-defense weapons simultaneously available for development and potential deployment.


  1. Anonymous8:19 PM

    President Biden does not understand this stuff....

  2. Was further work on these in the Navy's unfunded wish list? They do gamesmanship with some of these things. The best example is the Navy requesting only 1 new DDG, knowing full well Congress will add the 2nd one. But that thinking is less likely on research on a new shell...

  3. This program along with most defensive weapon programs not of the SM-3/6 family have been mismanaged, have had no clear plan and all under the guise of never ending "research"funding. Surprised the administration didn't put it under its infrastructure budget (NOT SURPRISED). One would think a combination of a railgun and lasers would be a very cost effective complement to the SM-6 family and each other; Even just the Hypervelocity round with a good seeker fuse would enhance protection. When one side gains the ability to wipe out dozens of vampires per attack per ship, they probably will win the naval battles. We don't want a war of attrition. They should have funded a few less LCS and Pulller/Montrose Pt. type ships in return for better weapons defense that can scale against threats.