This battleship’s big guns may be too expensive to fire!
Every hunter and shooting enthusiast has felt the sting of the price of ammunition. But you might be feeling better about the cost of that box of shotgun shells or .22s after hearing about the Navy’s new ammo woes for the DDG 1000, aka the U.S.S. Zumwalt.
It turns out, the new, advanced rounds for the ship’s big guns cost up to $800,000. Each.
Suddenly, $1 a round for self-defense pistol ammo doesn’t seem like a bad deal anymore! Defense News reports the Navy might be moving to cancel the rounds for the ship’s Advanced Gun System (AGS). The 155mm/62 caliber guns use rounds known as Long Range Land-Attack Projectiles, or LRLAP for short.
The rounds are capable of hitting targets up 80 miles away, and unfortunately, the only thing the rounds were designed for were the DDG 1000’s AGS guns. It turns out a down-scaling of the project for these new warships ended up hurting things in the long run, as the original plan for 28 ships was cut down to produce only three.
“We were going to buy thousands of these rounds,” a Navy Official told Defense News. “But quantities of ships killed the affordable rounds.”
The official told Defense News, there’s nothing wrong with the effectiveness of the LRLAP, which was intended for Marine support due to its accuracy. But it seems the price points just aren’t going to work out. The official said it is possible $800,000 is just starting point for the rounds.
“That’s probably low,” the official told Defense News. “That’s what the acquisition community wanted to get it down to.”
While the Zumwalt is not ready for active service yet, an LRLAP replacement isn’t likely before that happens 18 months from now. There are plans for the LRLAPs to be fired during some ship qualifications trials in 2018.
The Navy had a budget of $113 million in 2015 to buy 150 of the rounds specifically for those trials. No future funds have been allocated as of yet for more LRLAPs.
As the Navy looks to cut the LRAP due to these extensive costs, they are also exploring three or four alternative rounds, including one developed by the Army for possible use with the new warship’s guns. One of the primary problems may be changing the ship’s automated magazines, which were designed for LRLAPs, to fit the other rounds instead.
“The Navy continuously monitors the gun and ammunition industry capability and capacities,” Capt. Thurraya Kent told Defense News. “To address evolving threats and mission requirements, the Navy is evaluating industry projectile solutions (including conventional and hyper-velocity projectiles) that can also meet the DDG 1000 deployment schedule and could potentially be used as an alternative for the DDG 1000.”