Ultra-long-range gun SLRC: real project or pure science?

Ultra-long-range gun SLRC: real project or pure science?

SLRC project poster shown a few days ago. Photo Twitter.com/lfx160219


In the field of barrel artillery, a new revolution is planned. The U.S. Army launched a project for a promising artillery system capable of hitting targets at ranges of at least 1000 nautical miles (1852 km). A project called Strategic Long Range Cannon (SLRC) is now in its early stages, but its first results are promised already in 2023. In the meantime, developers announce some plans and show different materials.

First statements


The issue of deep modernization of rocket and barrel artillery has been worked out in the United States for a long time, but last year it became known that there were more than bold plans. In October 2019, the head of the artillery modernization program, Colonel John Rafferty, spoke about the promising SLRC program.

The colonel said that several Pentagon research organizations are currently working on finding the solutions needed to create an ultra-long-range gun. In the near future it is planned to create a prototype of such a product and test it at the test site. The first firing so far relates to 2023.

This will be a preliminary check, the results of which are going to determine the real prospects of the project. If the results are of interest to the army, the project will be developed and will lead to the emergence of a full-fledged combat-capable SLRC gun. However, confidence in this outcome is still lacking. In particular, it is not entirely clear whether it will be possible to keep the cost of the gun at an acceptable level.

First image


February 20, 2020 at the Aberdeen Proving Ground a joint event of the US and UK armies US-UK Modernization Demonstration Event was held, dedicated to issues of mutual assistance and further development. During this event, a poster was presented with the main provisions of the SLRC project. Models of artillery systems, including unknown sample. Photographs of the poster and layout quickly became public.


Models of artillery. In the center is an unknown weapon. Photo Twitter.com/lfx160219

The poster presents the main goals and objectives of the program, the expected characteristics and principles of operation, as well as an image of the entire system and its ammunition. The poster pretty much supplemented the existing data, although it did not reveal all the details.

The SLRC artillery complex is seen as a means of breaking through the defense of A2 / AD and breaking through "gaps" for further actions by the armed forces. A system is proposed that includes a tractor, a conveyor platform with a gun, a projectile and a propelling charge. The calculation of the gun will include 8 people. The guns are proposed to be reduced to batteries of 4 units. Range of fire - more than 1000 miles. It must be possible to transport by air or by sea.

The graphic on the poster shows a certain shell of standard contours with tail plumage. The drawn artillery complex combined a modern tractor and a large-caliber gun of the late XNUMXth century. Obviously, the SLRC project has not yet reached the stages when the appearance of the complex is known or can be shown even at a private event.

The model from the exhibition depicts an artillery system with a gun carriage without its own move. It has a barrel of obscure caliber, mounted using a farm. Any parameters of such a sample are unknown. It is also unclear whether this layout is related to the SLRC program.

Range Issues


The objective of the SLRC project is to create a mobile gun with a "strategic" firing range of at least 1850 km. For comparison, modern serial artillery has a range of not more than 40-45 km, depending on the projectile used. Systems with a range of 70-80 km or more are being developed, but they are still far from being adopted. You can also recall the legendary “Paris Cannon”, which hit 120-130 km, or the projects of J. Bull with an estimated range of 1000 km.


Experienced M777ER gun. Its range is higher than that of serial samples, but does not even reach 100 miles. Photo US Army

Increasing the firing range is a very difficult engineering task and requires the use of a number of technologies and design solutions. Which of them and in what combination will allow you to get a range of 1000 miles is a big question. Moreover, there is reason to doubt the fundamental possibility of creating such a system based on available or promising technologies.

Apparently, the Pentagon understands this and build their plans accordingly. The goal of the SLRC program so far is to create a prototype technology demonstrator that combines several solutions. His tests will show whether further growth of the characteristics to the indicated values ​​is possible. If such results are not obtained, the work will probably stop or the project will be transformed into something new.

Technology required


Several basic technical solutions are known to increase the range of the artillery. All of them are already being used in serial and promising samples, including US developments. In particular, the development of the ERCA project has been ongoing for several years, the result of which has already become a towed and self-propelled howitzer guns with a range of at least 70 km. In the future, they intend to bring the range to 90-100 km.

One of the main ways to increase the range is to refine the gun by lengthening the barrel. Larger caliber systems also have some potential in this context. One should recall the multi-chamber architecture of the gun. All these solutions allow the projectile to report more energy and, accordingly, increase its range.

An alternative to existing systems on artillery gunpowders can be the so-called. light gas guns or electromagnetic accelerators. Such systems have high potential, but so far have not shown it outside the boundaries of polygons. In addition, they are not without significant shortcomings.


Experienced self-propelled guns XM1299 with an ERCA gun. Perhaps the result of the SLRC will look similar. Photo US Army

However, even a highly efficient gun will not be able to send a “simple” shell to the desired distance of 1000 miles, and it needs some help from the ammunition. A common way to increase range is to use active rockets. Own engine provides the projectile with additional acceleration after exiting the barrel and increases flight range. Distribution received solid-propellant rockets. New ammunition with direct-flow power plant is also being developed.

Due to the long range and duration of the flight, the projectile needs a homing system - otherwise, accurate shooting is out of the question. In this case, special requirements arise for the stability of systems. GOS should remain operational after a powerful push during acceleration in the trunk and during flight along the trajectory.

Maximum difficulty, minimum result.


The result is a very interesting situation. The artillery complex with a high-energy weapon and a special active-reactive guided projectile will allow approaching the desired characteristics. At the same time, the main contribution to the increase in range will make the ammunition non-standard for artillery design.

Thus, instead of an ultra-long-range gun, a specific ground-to-ground missile system looms. Its main feature is an unreasonably complex launcher, which has the features of a barrel artillery system. The advantage of the gun could be the lower cost of the projectile compared to missiles, but its ammunition, created according to special requirements, will not work out simple and cheap.

In general, the SLRC program is not optimistic. Obtaining desired characteristics using known technologies is either impossible or extremely difficult and economically disadvantageous. In addition, the proposed gun has no real advantages over missile systems with similar characteristics.

Reasons and Benefits


The dubious nature of the SLRC program is already visible at the first review, but the Pentagon continues to work. This raises relevant questions, and several answers can be found.


A shot for tens of kilometers - but not for a thousand miles. Photo US Army

The SLRC program can be seen as an attempt to explore the capabilities of industry and the potential of technology. It is unlikely that it will lead to the creation of a combat-capable ultra-long-range gun, but new developments can be used to develop existing structures or to create new ones. It is possible that the future experience of current army programs and fleet will be combined to create a new project.

Of particular interest is the proposed strategic gun concept. The SLRC-type gun will be able to work in remote and well-concealed positions, striking targets at great depths of defense. Fighting such a firearms can be extremely difficult for a potential enemy. The detection and destruction of a mobile artillery installation will not be a simple process, and the effective interception of shells is generally not possible. However, the creation of an artillery system with all these qualities is also unlikely.

Until recently, the SLRC gun could be a convenient way to circumvent the terms of the INF Treaty. Such an artillery system could take on the tasks of short-range missiles - not having a direct relationship to them. However, the Treaty ceased to exist, and now there is no sense in developing a gun for replacing missiles.

Waiting for a result


While the Strategic Long Range Cannon program is at its earliest stages, and participating organizations are engaged only in research. However, already in 2023, the Pentagon promises to bring an experimental cannon demonstrating technology for testing. It will show the possibility of firing at 1000 nautical miles - or demonstrate the impossibility of obtaining such results.

Real conclusions about the results of the SLRC program can only be made in a few years. In the meantime, American scientists and engineers have enough time to find the necessary solutions and create an ultra-long-range gun. Or to abandon an overly complex program without obvious results.
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  1. Andrey the Magnificent 27 February 2020 06: 13 New
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    "Saw Shura, she is golden ..." fellow
    1. psiho117 28 February 2020 10: 56 New
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      Herods, who’s broken a mock-up of a gun? am
      Eh, everywhere a mess, not only with us ...
    2. Molot1979 7 May 2020 11: 04 New
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      There is no certainty that it will be possible to keep the cost of the project at least within some framework. After all, we are talking about the US military-industrial complex. So far, it has never been possible to keep the value at a previously named level. As for the cannon itself, I’ve been talking about ultra-long-range systems for about 10 years. But not a single working sample has been seen so far. I suspect, again, the United States wants to cover the hole with a loud PR in the most interesting place.
  2. Ka-52 27 February 2020 06: 18 New
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    Well here's a clean drank budget. All the sores of ultra-long-range artillery from the time of Kaiser Wilhelm and DorЫ’s trumpet are known even to simple couch enthusiasts of the theme.
    1. Sergey_G_M 27 February 2020 06: 37 New
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      I do not quite agree that this drank the budget.
      This is R&D, R&D does not have to be 100% successful, it is an investment in research and testing of new technologies. It is R&D in the military-industrial complex that is often the engine of technological development of both industries and the country.
      So, the investment of Americans in this development cannot be called a drink, on the contrary, the solution to this problem is very interesting from the point of view of both design and technology.
      1. Andrey.AN 27 February 2020 12: 17 New
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        Nothing interesting, put a few tons of gunpowder, wad, Dagger into the barrel.
  3. Kot_Kuzya 27 February 2020 06: 26 New
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    Yeah! The Pentagon generals are notably sawing a budget. Considering that US military spending is 10 times more than Russia's military spending, they saw so much that Serdyukov seems to be a petty thief, picking a trifle. Well, if in fact, it’s impossible to create a weapon with such a range at a reasonable price and mobility. Not without reason, according to the WWII experience, the largest caliber for guns is 155 mm, since guns of a larger caliber are too limited and extremely expensive. It’s cheaper and easier to bomb an object from the air than to build monsters with a caliber of more than 155 mm for this. And the presence of 152/155 mm shells with nuclear filling also made senseless increase in caliber to increase the power of the shell.
    1. Zeev Zeev 27 February 2020 08: 34 New
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      As far as I remember, the largest caliber in the modern army is 203 mm. This is for guns, mortars are also 240 mm. And we are talking exclusively about serial devices like self-propelled guns M110.
      1. Kot_Kuzya 27 February 2020 08: 44 New
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        This is the development of the 50s, when they still could not shove nuclear stuffing in 152/155-mm shells. With the advent of nuclear shells with a caliber of 152/155 mm, the meaning of developing and producing larger-caliber guns disappeared.
  4. rocket757 27 February 2020 06: 46 New
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    In the field of barrel artillery, a new revolution is planned. The U.S. Army launched a project for a promising artillery system capable of hitting targets at ranges of at least 1000 nautical miles (1852 km).

    The theme is "beautiful" in every way, real or just money ??? Yes, who will understand them.
  5. Amateur 27 February 2020 06: 53 New
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    German super long-range gun.
    The gun had a total length of 124 m, caliber 150 mm, weight 76 tons. The HDP gun barrel consisted of 32 sections 4,48 m long; each section had two charging chambers located along the barrel and at an angle to it (a total of 60 side charging chambers).
    The gun designer is August Könders, Chief Engineer at the Rohling (Stahlwerke Röchling-Buderus Aktiengesellschaft) factories.
    The gun used a swept feathered projectile weighing up to 140 kg and a length of 3250 mm. The explosive charge in the projectile was about 25 kg. The flight range of the swept projectile according to calculations reached 165 km.

    VO already wrote about her. https://topwar.ru/21391-oruzhie-vozmezdiya-obrazec-3-sverhdalnyaya-nemeckaya-mnogokamernaya-pushka-kalibra-150mm-hochdruckpumpe.html
    All the buzz - nothing came of it!
    1. AK1972 27 February 2020 10: 37 New
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      Here the most important thing is to put the big Schultz into Big Berta correctly.
  6. Cruorvult 27 February 2020 06: 54 New
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    I remember Zumvolt and 155 shells with a cost of about 800 thousand Baku, but here they tell us about 1800. IMHO will not take off.
  7. Evdokim 27 February 2020 07: 00 New
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    Oh, these dreams, Pintogon's dreamers ..... laughing lol
    They would rather have ordered an NOCR for a homing fly swatter. wassat
  8. Hazarov 27 February 2020 07: 01 New
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    ABOUT! Another prodigy! Ha! Then they have all the problems of thermonuclear fusion solved, only another 20-50 years and everyone will be happy from scientists from Aglitz! Give me the current! Give! Give me money! And don’t just give, but give a couple of hundred yards!
    Heh! Well, just like Hadji Nasreddin. In 50 years, either the Sultan will die or the donkey will die!
    Hehe!
  9. Nikolaevich I 27 February 2020 07: 29 New
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    Well, sho tell you about the "IT"? what Yes, I won’t say a “roll”! tongue What can I say when in the head only this: wassat ? (This is such an instrument? But how does it differ from a missile launcher? Is it a missile launcher? Then why call it artillery equipment? Questions ... questions ... questions without answers! fool )
    1. Nikolaevich I 27 February 2020 07: 55 New
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      And I invented, invented! fellow Jules Verne helped me! But we have "abandoned" missile bases! "Empty" rocket mines! Assign a rocket mine with an gun barrel! Get the Mega Gun! The "mega-gun" will be charged from the "barrel" ... The loading mechanism can be "on the surface"! “I scored ... I’m tight in the cannon ...."; that is, we drop the charge in the cap and the “super. Shell” into the “shaft-barrel”! Yes kaaak ... bang! The main thing is that the shell gets to the height of the satellite! Tady, the shell becomes a "munition satellite"! In the right place, in Earth’s orbit, the "satellite-ammunition" leaves the orbit and falls to the ground !!! good While the "super-shell-satellite-ammunition" is being selected into orbit ... while it is moving in orbit ....; at this time, the “mega gun” is again “baah!” Benefits-cart and small trolley! See: "performance" (rate of fire) (compared to ICBMs ...) -wow! fellow Cost is ... negative The missile limitation agreement does not fit! stop Urgently give me a patent for the idea!
      1. Alexey RA 27 February 2020 11: 44 New
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        Quote: Nikolaevich I
        Urgently give me a patent for the idea!

        Late - Gerald Bull did this in the last century. At first there was the “HARP project” - launching satellites into low orbits using guns.

        And then - the "Babylon project" - an ultra-long-range cannon and again the satellite output.
        1. Nikolaevich I 27 February 2020 11: 53 New
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          Quote: Alexey RA
          At first there was the “HARP project” - launching satellites into low orbits using guns.

          Quote: Alexey RA
          And then - the "Babylon project" - an ultra-long-range cannon and again the satellite output.

          Sorry ... But in my idea there is an "original component" (!) ...: the use of missile silos as "gun barrels"! wink And as for Jules Verne, the term of patent ownership has long expired ... tongue
        2. Bersaglieri 27 February 2020 12: 19 New
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          Ahead, I also immediately remembered Byull.
          1. Alexey RA 27 February 2020 17: 18 New
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            Quote: Bersaglieri
            Ahead, I also immediately remembered Byull.

            Well, this is a classic - about him, EMNIP, even in the "Technique-Youth" in Soviet times they wrote. smile

            He was generally a versatile person. It was he who became the father of the “long barrel” in the division artillery, designing 155-mm guns with 45- and 52-caliber barrels (instead of the traditional 39 caliber). And he was a cosmopolitan - he worked for Canada, South Africa, China, Iraq.
        3. Dmitry V. 28 February 2020 13: 05 New
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          Quote: Alexey RA
          HARP project


          It also seemed to me that we are talking about creating a mobile version of the High Altitude Research Project (HARP) on new materials and modern technological level.

          The culmination of the project was a 16-inch (406 mm) gun mounted in Barbados (Caribbean).
          The base of the space gun was a ship’s cannon with a caliber of 16 inches (410 millimeters) and a length of 20 meters (65 feet), which were usually installed on naval ships of the battleship class. Later, another barrel was attached to the gun, after which its length became 40 meters (130 feet). The projectile for this gun was a protective capsule for the payload, which disintegrated after the shot, and the container with the cargo, usually with tightly packed electronics, flew to space altitude.
          To improve the ballistics of the projectile, a technical vacuum was created in the barrel before the shot. 180 kilogram shells in a 40 meter barrel were accelerated to a speed of 3600 meters per second. The cannon threw them to a height of 180 kilometers, after which they fell into the ocean. This was not enough to put the satellite into permanent orbit.



          And their modern attempts
          The American company Green Launch at the artillery range of the US Army in Hume begins testing the development of ballistic suborbital access to low Earth orbit. For this, the so-called 175 mm / 55 “hydrogen energy satellite gun” will be used, which has remained at the training ground since the time of the HARP research project. The self-propelled gun M107 was used as a test carriage. (Panzerblog VK)
      2. Simargl 27 February 2020 12: 23 New
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        Quote: Nikolaevich I
        And I invented, invented!
        Funny as it may seem, this is the surest thought (IMHO): working out the weapon method of launching satellites. I won’t be surprised if they’ll file the Columbiad.
        1. Bersaglieri 27 February 2020 13: 54 New
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          Well so SHARP
          1. Simargl 27 February 2020 18: 59 New
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            Quote: Bersaglieri
            Well so SHARP
            Strategic Long Range Cannon (SLRC) article claims.
            But it makes sense only if SHARP - I agree.
  10. Disorder 27 February 2020 07: 33 New
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    With the railgun already sawed everything, now there will be a new sawmill.
  11. sen
    sen 27 February 2020 07: 36 New
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    I agree that the idea of ​​such a gun is doubtful, but if successful, it can be used with nuclear shells instead of medium-range missiles in the same Europe.
    1. common man 27 February 2020 07: 58 New
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      Quote: sen
      if successful, it can be used with nuclear shells instead of medium-range missiles in the same Europe.

      I wonder what it will be better than medium-range missiles with nuclear warheads.
      1. sen
        sen 27 February 2020 08: 33 New
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        I wonder what it will be better than medium-range missiles with nuclear warheads.

        So such missiles are strictly registered. Again, the United States and we are not going to place them in Europe yet.
        But such a gun is universal. No one knows if she has nuclear shells or not.
        But, again, the idea of ​​such a gun is very doubtful.
        1. Bersaglieri 27 February 2020 14: 18 New
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          Only she, unlike rockets, is completely not mobile.
  12. Machete 27 February 2020 07: 41 New
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    An instrument with a projectile range, like a cruise missile?
    MEANING???
    Development (most likely unsuccessful) will rise in such an amount that it will be cheaper to pack the enemy with axes in batches.
    Or, perhaps, one "particularly smart" long-range projectile will be more expensive than any ax.
    In short, drank another dough.
  13. Viktor Sergeev 27 February 2020 07: 52 New
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    Shoot a rocket, it's like a gun.
    I wonder how much money will be stolen on this project before it is closed?
  14. The leader of the Redskins 27 February 2020 07: 58 New
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    How does it all look like what it was just years ago)) It was only transported not by a tractor but by rail ..
  15. Air force 27 February 2020 09: 21 New
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    As for me, this development was needed by the Americans to bypass the INF, such as artillery, but if you dig up the “shamanized” missiles under the shells, they inserted into the barrel and everything is in order, the contract is not broken. Scam in one word. But at the moment, the Americans have withdrawn from the treaty, so as for me, this system will remain only for a “cut” budget, in principle, let’s cut it better for us, if we would start to develop some kind of “Zumvolt 2” so that it would two times it was more than the previous one and preferably in the amount of 50 pcs no less.
    1. Bersaglieri 27 February 2020 14: 18 New
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      "Make USN battleships great again!" :)
    2. psiho117 28 February 2020 10: 49 New
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      Quote: Air Force
      some kind of "Zumvolt 2" so that it would be twice as large as the previous one and preferably
      And Schaub ish zh legam, Schaub immediately crawled out and mustache crap success won wassat wassat wassat
  16. AK1972 27 February 2020 10: 40 New
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    And why is the range of land guns measured not in geographical, but in nautical miles?
    1. Andrey.AN 27 February 2020 22: 27 New
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      why would they not need land, land, they want to bestow the fleet with anything, as practice shows, any shell, even if at least ten missiles of initial speed, will be subsonic after five kilometers, and if it is a rocket, why a gun? Cut it.
      1. psiho117 28 February 2020 10: 51 New
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        Quote: Andrey.AN
        as practice shows, any shell, even if at least ten misses of initial speed, will be subsonic after five kilometers

        no, there’s a chip in the exit of the projectile to the rarefied layers of the atmosphere, due to this, the range is ensured. Well, theoretically hi
        1. Andrey.AN 28 February 2020 12: 02 New
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          roughly speaking, until a pound shell arrives in these layers, it will share kinetic energy with twenty pounds of air, in half with each next pound (streamlining only below the sound barrier) until it reaches these sparse layers, in general, if the initial speed is 512 max, after twenty pounds of air there will be one .
  17. The comment was deleted.
  18. Knell wardenheart 27 February 2020 11: 46 New
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    Stupid idea - all the problems were revealed by the Germans in the First World War and the Second World War on the Dora cannon. Small-scale production of specific shells is expensive, increased barrel loads lead to its rapid deterioration and the need for replacement (and this is expensive), the design of any "Columbiad" itself is expensive, fragile, and low-mobility (relative to other modern weapons), while ensuring it even minimal protection complicates and aggravates the structure, and failure to provide promises one-time losses from damage or destruction, generally in penny terms. Also, the design features of such guns (in mobile versions) do not allow real high speed of fire, and the cast weight, which will be able to produce a real transported sample (and not some kind of "Dora", which was dragged to the target for weeks) is not so significant. If we are talking about low-power nuclear warheads, such a “projectile” will come out not just gold, but directly diamond, given the safe design, ultra-compact charge, accelerators, guidance system .. If we are talking about a conventional explosive, we get an extremely expensive toy that requires filigree accuracy with a smaller explosive charge, relative to the same "Tomahawk".

    In general, the idea is so-so for the 21st century - either this is the next “cut” of the budget, or the guys are adjusting to the cannon way of putting goods into orbit, or it’s just a linden designed to “spin” us or China into perspective control ..
  19. Operator 27 February 2020 12: 01 New
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    Like - with rockets we have a complete bummer in the USA, so let's fire up the good old gun in fear of the enemy laughing
  20. Old Orc 27 February 2020 12: 14 New
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    It is entirely possible that it will be used to launch military satellites into low orbit. and for other commercial space related projects. and the range is for generals.
  21. Bersaglieri 27 February 2020 12: 18 New
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    Gerald Bull smiles and waves from the cloud, yeah. Someone reincarnates his "Project" Babylon "" :)
  22. gvozdan 27 February 2020 12: 51 New
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    Unless a shell flies through space. In general, it is strange as well as the project of creating a tank with supersonic speed.

    In my opinion a ballistic missile:
    - can hit further 1000 miles
    - it will be cheaper
    - already have and do not need to develop
  23. AllBiBek 27 February 2020 16: 05 New
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    Adolf Aloizych wildly, furiously applauds from the other world. In his style is an idea.
  24. Fat
    Fat 27 February 2020 17: 27 New
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    I heard about the tools of the engineer Kongreva. What technology has reached the point where an idea is close to reality?
    Not yet. Missiles and long-range and more accurately.
    DRMSD is not valid.
    Bad head money does not give rest?
  25. voyaka uh 27 February 2020 19: 29 New
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    What caliber? - did not write.
  26. bk0010 28 February 2020 20: 28 New
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    Pffff ... We have such a long time, with a range of 15000 km! R-36M is called (there is a mortar launch, so formally - it corresponds).
    Regarding nuclear artillery: it seemed to me that they had been beaten with the appearance of a sufficient number of carriers, since 5 kg of plutonium was required for a 400 kT projectile and a 10 kT bomb / warhead. Expensively such shells come out (relative to the effect).
    Concerning satellites: do not talk about it to their manufacturers - they will be upset. Satellites are rather fragile (save weight), and you are going to shoot them. If they are tossed something in this way to orbit, then air, water or fuel. But then you need a space tug with good search capabilities (the tank is passive, and the space is large) and maneuver.
  27. Interdum_silentium_volo 1 March 2020 01: 23 New
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    So they make the gun)))) It remains to make the ship))) A sort of battleship 21 centuries)))) hahahha
    But seriously, it's interesting to compare:
    1) Efficiency and costs for throwing a mass of 500 kg and a height of up to 40 km from a cannon.
    2) and the same load at the same height with a rocket
    Why am I, the stratosphere is good for the main flight path of a missile projectile, the radio waves pass well, the medium resistance is low, the temperature is very predictable and the same.
    So I see only one reasonable explanation for such a gun, it efficiently and economically throws relatively large loads to great heights, where the projectile already overcomes the main part of its planning by its engine and rudders.
    For example, GBU-39 with 10 km is planning on a range of over 100 km, and this is without an engine. And while falling, quite serious speed is gained and again without engines.
    There are suspicions that working with a coordinate system such a gun will be more effective than OTRK (price-quality ....... range and mass of warheads), but it is much more limited in terms of carrier platforms
  28. zombee 1 March 2020 11: 05 New
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    500 million Begum, Jules Verne- did someone in the Pentagon read this book?
  29. ser56 11 May 2020 21: 28 New
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    Grandmas sawing ... bully