CONTENT PREVIEW
Naval Weapons

USN considers alternatives to LRLAP for Zumwalt gun system

17 November 2016

Key Points

  • USN and industry officials have acknowledged that alternatives to LRLAP are being considered as projectiles for the Zumwalt destroyers' main guns
  • The navy says no official decision has been made on whether to cancel the LRLAP buy for Zumwalt

Lead DDG 1000 Zumwalt, pictured during sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean in December 2015. The navy is looking at alternative projectile options for the ships' 155 mm main guns. (General Dynamics Bath Iron Works)Lead DDG 1000 Zumwalt, pictured during sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean in December 2015. The navy is looking at alternative projectile options for the ships' 155 mm main guns. (General Dynamics Bath Iron Works)

The US Navy (USN) and industry are considering alternative munitions options for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer's 155 mm main guns, officials have told IHS Jane's.

The navy has not yet officially decided whether to halt the acquisition of Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) rounds to fit the guns on its three new Zumwalt destroyers, the service told IHS Jane's.

However, with current budget plans including the cancellation of LRLAP purchases beyond test rounds, it is understood that the navy and LRLAP contractor Lockheed Martin are already considering alternatives for Zumwalt's twin gun system.

The developments follow recent press reports that cite the cancellation of the planned LRLAP fit for Zumwalt.

USN spokesperson Captain Thurraya Kent told IHS Jane's that "the navy has evaluated industry projectile solutions - including conventional and hyper-velocity projectiles [HVPs] - that can also meet the DDG 1000 deployment schedule and that could potentially be used as an alternative to LRLAP for DDG 1000".

Manufacturer Lockheed Martin said, "As the DDG 1000's mission continues to evolve, and taking into consideration funding profiles available to support the weaponization of the ship in light of the severe reduction in the planned production quantities, the US Navy decided to evaluate alternate solutions to LRLAP." In a statement, the company added it "is working aggressively to provide the navy with options in relation to the DDG 1000's long-range land attack mission".

Neither the navy nor Lockheed Martin have provided information on specific alternatives.

However, as lead ship Zumwalt transits to San Diego to begin combat system certification work prior to eventual operational deployment in the Western Pacific later this decade, pressure is growing to ensure the availability of a long-range land attack capability for the class.

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