127 mm: the gold standard for marine snipers


A 127 mm laser-guided guided projectile developed in the 1970s at NSWC Dahlgren. Photo: flickr.com


Flying crowbars


In modern high-precision ammunition of 127 mm caliber, it is difficult to recognize an artillery shell. It is rather a small surface-to-surface missile. For example, Lockheed Martin’s NGP (Navy Guided Projectile) projectile is 1,37 meters long and can fly 120 kilometers. In fact, with the classic NGP shell, only the way to launch through the gun’s barrel makes him related.

The Americans were one of the first to be bothered by high-precision shells in the 127 mm form factor when, in the 70s of the last century, they developed an adjustable laser-guided munition. The work was then carried out at the Naval Surface Warfare Research Center fleet NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center). It was a development for the five-inch naval gun Mk45, which had just appeared in sight at that time. Now about 260 ships around the world are armed with various modifications of this gun, the last of which Mod4 has a barrel with a length of 62 calibers. It is noteworthy that at a maximum rate of fire of 20 rounds per minute with conventional shells, the cannon can fire guided munitions of 10 pieces per minute.

If we take the approximate cost of one “smart” projectile MS-SGP (which will be discussed later) at 55 thousand dollars, then it is easy to calculate that in less than 120 seconds the Mk45 will release a million “green” into the sky. Of course, no one in their right mind would do this in peacetime, but the potential itself is impressive. At the same time, in contrast to land artillery artillery systems with expensive high-precision shells, it is much easier for ship 127 mm shells to find a worthy target in the water area.


The American 127 mm BAE Systems Mk 45 Mod 4 universal artillery launcher with a barrel length of 62 calibers on a U.S. Navy ship. Photo: forums.eagle.ru

But back to the brief stories five inch shells. In the 90s, the US Navy launched a program for an active-rocket projectile ERGM (Extended Range Guided Munition), which was guided by GPS and the inertial navigation system INS. This projectile had a probable circular deviation of 20 meters and was able to fly off at the expense of a solid propellant rocket engine in the tail for 117 kilometers. The toy turned out to be very expensive - the main developer Raytheon spent over half a billion dollars on a shell for twelve years of work, but it still did not reach the required level of the Navy. In the 2000s, on the basis of ERGM developments, ATK (Alliant Techsystems Missile Systems Company) launched the BTERM (Ballistic Trajectory Extended Range Munition) project, which, as the future showed, also turned out to be a dead end.


Artillery guns for testing the first 127-mm adjustable shells. Photo: flickr.com

The developers sought to combine the flight of a projectile along a high-speed ballistic trajectory with the possibility of increasing the accuracy of the hit by correcting the trajectory using GPS and an inertial guidance system. Unlike ERGM, the BTERM shell flies most of the time in uncontrolled mode along a near-ballistic trajectory without planning, and only at the final section is it guided. This allowed us to simplify the design of the projectile and reduce its susceptibility to electronic countermeasures of the enemy. Programs launched at different times on managed “five-inch” programs were synchronously completed in 2008.

BAE Systems attacks


The Multi Service, Standard Guided Projectile (MS-SGP) is another attempt by the U.S. Navy to obtain a guided projectile for the Mk45 gun. The work in this case was entrusted to BAE Systems, which did not begin to develop a projectile from scratch, but deployed it on a 155 mm LRLAP platform. At the same time, multifunctionality was initially laid in the ammunition - if necessary, the five-inch MS-SGP could be safely used in the ammunition of the 155-mm artillery system. For this, two rings were put on the shell, providing obturation and centering in the channel of the larger caliber guns. It turns out such a peculiar guided sub-caliber projectile of a universal use profile. Why do all these tricks? Everything, as always, rests on financing. Five years ago, BAE Systems calculated the cost of NATO’s three-day operation in Libya when the coalition released about 320 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile targets for ground targets. This totaled half a billion dollars, despite the fact that many goals were much cheaper than one Tomahawk.


"Five-inch" on the destroyer Donald Cook (DDG-75). Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

If MS-SGP were in service in 2011, then, according to BAE marketers, the cost of this part of the military campaign did not exceed 15 million. In the most ideal case, a 127-mm projectile flies 100 kilometers - for this he needs a new gun Mk45 Mod4 and a charge Mk67 as an instrument. In the variant of using MS-SGP in a 155-mm gun (for example, in the M777 / M109 howitzer) it flies “only” for 70 kilometers.

127 mm: the gold standard for marine snipers
From left to right: the 127 mm MS-SGP shell for 155 mm guns, the 127 mm MS-SGP shell and the 155 mm LRLAP shell. Exhibition Sea-airspace-2014. Photo: flickr.com

The projectile boasts a probable circular deviation of 10 meters, and during tests at the White Sands training ground showed a deviation from the target at a distance of 36 kilometers of only 1,5 meters. If in real conditions, far from polygon greenhouses, weapon If it shows similar accuracy, then MS-SGP will become a real sniper high-tech for the Navy. An important advantage over the five-inch adjustable Excalibur Naval 5-inch (it was discussed in the material "Elder Brothers": 127 mm and 155 mm ammunition of a potential enemy ") MS-SGP has an inertial guidance system that allows it to work when GPS is lost or the enemy makes jamming. In the near future, taking into account successful tests, the BAE novelty should be put into service with the US Navy.

A few more naval guided shells


Again, on the basis of the 155 mm LRLAP-adjusted LRLAP, Lockheed Martin is designing an NGP (Navy Guided Projectile) projectile, which should become a low-cost alternative to the above systems. This development is even more like a cruise missile than all previous shells, although there is no jet engine. But there are folding wings that allow you to plan for a target that is 120 kilometers away. The ballistics of the flight are straightforward - at the highest point the wings of the NGP open, the speed drops and the ammunition calmly follows its target or follows it. Lockheed Martin plans to teach a 36-pound shell to monitor target maneuvers, which will destroy now fashionable shock speed boats and even winged drones, stuffed with explosives and reconnaissance equipment.


Adjustable NGP. Photo: prokhor-tebin.livejournal.com

American gunsmiths call their shells various abbreviations, from which they ripple in the eyes. We need to take an example from European manufacturers, who in 2003 initiated the Vulcano program, aimed at developing sub-caliber projectiles for 127-mm naval guns. The head developer is the Italian Oto Melara, which provided for three modifications of Vulcano at once. The first version of the Vulcano BER (Ballistic Extended Range) is an unguided multi-purpose projectile increased to 60–70 km range. At the same time, such a range is provided not due to the solid rocket engine, but due to the lower resistance of the projectile and the greater speed. Stability is ensured by plumage. As it has already become clear, the other two Vulcano versions are controllable and are made according to the aerodynamic scheme "duck". The performance of the Guided Long Range, or GLR, is crammed with expensive equipment - there is an inertial guidance system, a GPS module, and even a homing thermal head. Such "smart" Vulcano can be performed in two variations - for hitting armored targets and for striking to targets that are 100-120 km away.

By the way, Italians do not really rely on the Mk45 staff and developed their own naval artillery installation 127 mm / 64 LW. As is clear from the index, the barrel length is 64 gauges. It is this gun that provides a 120-kilometer flight range competitive for Vulcano with a sniper circular deviation of 20 meters.

Based on materials from the publications: "Izvestiya TulGU. Technical sciences", "Marine collection", navalnews.com, forums.eagle.ru.
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  1. Lamata 10 February 2020 07: 05 New
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    The missile also in range and accuracy))))
  2. Vladimir_2U 10 February 2020 07: 10 New
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    Lockheed Martin plans to teach a 36-pound shell to monitor target maneuvers, which will destroy now fashionable shock speed boats and even winged drones
    They plan to tryndet for advertising purposes - not tossing bags, but not as brazenly.
  3. Amateur 10 February 2020 07: 16 New
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    127 mm guided projectile with laser-guided

    And who will "highlight"?
  4. rocket757 10 February 2020 07: 18 New
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    Of course this is a hybrid, an expensive system ... but how to evaluate for sure what will be cheaper, one shot at the bull's eye, or a dozen or two at the “milk”.
    1. Cowbra 10 February 2020 07: 35 New
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      1 shot of Zyama - 800 thousand raccoons, 1 tomahawk - about 1,2 lemons. B / H in the ax is clearly not even one and a half times higher. The probability of hitting a rocket is greater simply because "it has" more fuel in it to adjust its course. And the range is 10 times.
      1. Brylevsky 10 February 2020 08: 55 New
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        Each weapon has its own tactical niche.
        a rocket has more simply because "it has inside" more fuel to adjust its course. And the range is 10 times.

        In the USSR, under Khrushchev, they also tried to rely on missiles, stealing the barrel artillery. Life has shown the flaw of this concept. Without shells (different) in the war can not do.
        1. Cowbra 10 February 2020 09: 04 New
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          Why, then? Zyama generally do without any shells! And the US fleet does without Zam. Because SUCH shells do not have niches at all. Either they are NOT weapons, or these weapons were invented by smoking
        2. Lontus 10 February 2020 11: 10 New
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          Quote: Brylevsky
          Each weapon has its own tactical niche.
          a rocket has more simply because "it has inside" more fuel to adjust its course. And the range is 10 times.

          In the USSR, under Khrushchev, they also tried to rely on missiles, stealing the barrel artillery.
          Life has shown the flaw of this concept. Without shells (different) in the war can not do.

          And where did she show it? Someone captured the USSR in the war because of Khrushchev's emphasis on missiles?
          Khrushchev is still a pest, but with the missiles he was right.
          1. Brylevsky 10 February 2020 13: 03 New
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            And where did she show it?

            In the war in Vietnam.
            1. Lontus 10 February 2020 13: 07 New
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              Quote: Brylevsky
              And where did she show it?

              In the war in Vietnam.

              In it, the USSR suffered militarily because of Khrushchev's emphasis on missiles?
              1. Brylevsky 10 February 2020 13: 11 New
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                In it, the USSR suffered militarily because of Khrushchev's emphasis on missiles?

                No. In it, the General Staff of the USSR recognized the need to develop and improve barrel artillery, and not just missiles.
                1. Lontus 10 February 2020 13: 16 New
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                  Quote: Brylevsky
                  In it, the USSR suffered militarily because of Khrushchev's emphasis on missiles?

                  No. In it, the General Staff of the USSR recognized the need to develop and improve barrel artillery, and not just missiles.

                  I asked about something else initially and you left the answer:
                  Quote: Lontus
                  Someone captured the USSR in the war because of Khrushchev's emphasis on missiles?
                  Khrushchev is still a pest, but with the missiles he was right.

                  The question was about the damage, and not about the awareness of the leaders of the General Staff. - They were aware of a lot of things.

                  Or do you just admit by this departure from the answer that there was no damage to the defense of the USSR, from Khrushchev's emphasis on missiles?
                  1. Brylevsky 10 February 2020 13: 40 New
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                    I’m not going anywhere and I don’t admit anything. To develop one thing to the detriment of the other is a deliberately losing strategy applicable to rocket and barrel artillery. And in the 60s we had a clear bias in the rocket plane of artillery development. But the Vietnam War put everything in its place. And yes, war-corrected projectiles also have (and had, and will) a place, and not just missiles. The war in Afghanistan and Chechnya is a confirmation of this. Both there and there, from our side, correctable shells and mines were used.
      2. Alexey RA 10 February 2020 11: 52 New
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        Quote: Cowbra
        1 shot of Zyama - 800 thousand raccoons, 1 tomahawk - about 1,2 lemons.

        At Zamvolt, a shot costs so much only because the Navy sharply reduced the volume of purchases. And the cost of the program did not go away - and after spreading it to a reduced number of shells, the resulting cost of a shot was 0,8 megabytes apiece.
        1. Cowbra 10 February 2020 12: 18 New
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          It doesn’t fight logic - the money for the program is ALREADY given, they are gone. But the shells did not begin to be purchased AT ALL - having already given the money. So, with a deduction, without a deduction - and one dog is more profitable to keep 3 pieces of 7 billion troughs completely unarmed than to buy shells for them ... In tons, to reduce the cost per unit.
          Nowhere was it said that 800 thousand is for a projectile + program, more precisely, I have not seen anywhere. But anyway, that. that they didn’t buy anything at all - says that the price is wild even for the Pentagon sawmill with no efficiency.
  5. Basarev 10 February 2020 07: 25 New
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    Isn't it better to conduct research in the other direction? To, on the contrary, to make the most cheap shell without all these unnecessary show-offs. Only maximum armor penetration and maximum explosive mass. Or even shells without explosives, purely kinetic, such big bullets. And the caliber of a miserable 127 mm I do not like.
    1. Brylevsky 10 February 2020 09: 03 New
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      Isn't it better to conduct research the other way? To, on the contrary, to make the most cheap shell without all these unnecessary show-offs.

      No. Without "show-offs" in modern warfare, you understand. Apparently, it is cheaper to use one correctable projectile, but with a 90% chance of being hit than 100 conventional ones, but with a 3% chance of being hit. There are other factors that play in favor of a smart projectile.
      1. Aleksey Aleksandrovich 10 February 2020 12: 11 New
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        You can use the Grad package for 40 RSs. 3% of the likely damage to one MS is multiplied by 40 and the probability of hitting the target will be 120 percent))) That is even the extra 20% is obtained)))
        1. Brylevsky 10 February 2020 13: 07 New
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          But what if the task is not to plow the land?
          1. Aleksey Aleksandrovich 10 February 2020 13: 59 New
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            I don’t know how the Americans are, but our military has Tochka-U and Caliber for such purposes.
            Our overseas colleagues recently perfectly cleaned up unwanted faces by means of strikes from drones. I am thinking that high-precision shells for barrel artillery are more likely an addition to high-precision weapons, and not its basis.
            By the way, my previous comment is like a joke. It is clear that a conventional Grad and a similar projectile are different weapons with different purposes.
            1. mmaxx 10 February 2020 16: 23 New
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              Yes, something this "Point-U" slanting like a scimitar.
      2. Alexey RA 10 February 2020 12: 32 New
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        Quote: Brylevsky
        Apparently, it is cheaper to use one correctable projectile, but with a 90% chance of being hit than 100 conventional ones, but with a 3% chance of being hit.

        And in the case of "iron" is not a fact that the target will be hit even at such an expense. I remember the runway of the Georgian airfield, on which the long-range worked: a cloud of craters, and only 3 hits in the runway, and non-critical - you can use the runway.
        1. Basarev 10 February 2020 17: 28 New
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          The point is that such an expensive ammunition is simply a pity to spend. The idea is to transfer all these exact-smart systems to the side of the ship in order to accurately and critically get into the “iron”. That is, something like with bombs: the Americans put a terribly expensive kit on the bomb so that it hits, and we have a similar container on board the plane. And a simple bomb becomes extremely accurate.
          1. Narak-zempo 10 February 2020 18: 36 New
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            Quote: Basarev
            about there is something like with bombs: the Americans put a terribly expensive kit on the bomb so that it hits, and we have a similar container on board the plane. And a simple bomb becomes extremely accurate.

            By bullying an uncontrolled blank for several tens of kilometers, you won’t achieve any smart FCS as accurate as a guided munition. Because you can influence it only at the moment of the shot, and it experiences disturbing influences along the entire trajectory. And the further, the more deviations accumulate. Everything is the same with bombs.
    2. Narak-zempo 10 February 2020 17: 13 New
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      The enemy with guided projectiles will not give time to shell conventional.
  6. Aleksey Aleksandrovich 10 February 2020 12: 02 New
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    The possible deviation of the projectile at 20 meters from the target is not small in my opinion. If such a thing is fired at by a group of regular terrorists who are not in the reinforcements, then this is one thing, and if to a specific building, then such a large deviation can lose the whole idea of ​​democracy exporters.
  7. Undecim 10 February 2020 12: 12 New
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    An important advantage over the five-inch adjustable Excalibur Naval 5-inch ...
    MS-SGP has an inertial guidance system that allows you to work when the GPS is lost or the enemy makes jamming.

    Raytheon Land Warfare Systems has already tested the 127 mm Excalibur S shell, which also has a semi-active laser guidance system. Next, an option with an active radar system is being worked out.
  8. demiurg 10 February 2020 14: 34 New
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    Okay, and who's stopping firing the EP standard at the same range? Screw the GOS on the blue electrical tape. Here you and mass, and warhead more powerful. And the price tag will be cheaper.

    By the way, who was asking about a worldless analogue? Nate, spherical in a vacuum from the chamber of weights and measures. The criterion of cost / efficiency in the furnace, but it looks beautiful to stupor.
    If Rostec had made a 130mm shell worth Caliber, about a cut, Rogozin and Serdyukov would not have whined only me and Lopatov. Although probably Kaptsov would also have written that it is better to put 16 inches. bully
  9. bk0010 10 February 2020 22: 46 New
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    All this would be very cool at 16 inches. Even at 12. But 5 "is too small and cheap for all these bells and whistles. The price would rise, but not as much as in 5". The amount of explosives would also not fall so sharply. And overall efficiency in naval combat would rise dramatically. But just to compete with the rocket still would not work: it hurts such guns and towers of the road and are heavy.
    1. Andrey.AN 11 February 2020 10: 32 New
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      fight maneuvering targets, a large caliber is not needed, but you can’t illuminate the target at large distances from the ship, you can connect the projectile with the ship’s AFAR to adjust the trajectory to the target, within the radio horizon, again, it’s cheaper than to hit high-speed targets with air defense missiles on the surface and in the air .