The Surface Navy Association is holding its 28th National Symposium near the nation’s capital this week, and a key focus of discussion will be increasing the firepower of U.S. warships in response to what Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson calls “a return to great power competition” at sea. Much of the recent thinking about bolstering the fleet’s offensive punch has focused on items like lasers and railguns, and even the more down-to-earth thinkers tend to talk about missiles. But there is another, relatively inexpensive, way of getting more firepower fast that deserves the Navy’s near-term attention: providing guns with guided projectiles. Every surface combatant in the fleet is equipped with weapons like the Mk 45 naval gun system. The guns themselves are technological marvels that are highly automated and shoot ten rounds per minute, but the ammunition is unguided. BAE Systems wants to change that with its Standard Guided Projectile and Hyper Velocity Projectile, munitions that can reach four times further than unguided projectiles — up to sixty miles — and then hit within a few yards of intended targets. That would be a revolution in naval gunfire, and a cheap way of making surface combatants a lot more lethal. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
Find Archived Articles: