The US Navy’s brand-new stealth ship the USS Zumwalt is potentially one of the most advanced ships ever constructed.
One of the features that makes it so advanced is a gun that’s capable of firing GPS-guided shells over a distance over 60 miles.
Unfortunately, the US Navy won’t be firing any of those shells because as it turns out, it can’t afford them.
A ‘dumb’ 155mm shell costs anywhere between $300-700, this new shell costs an eye-watering $800,000, each.
It’s called the Advanced Gun System and it fires a shell called the Long Range Land Attack Projectile.
While most big guns simply just fire the shell and let gravity do the rest, this shell has GPS built in along with tiny fins which allow it to steer itself with pinpoint accuracy.
Why does it cost this much? It’s simple, demand. The Navy originally wanted 32 of these ships built, now they’ve decided on three.
It was expected then that the Navy would be buying the new advanced shells in bulk, thus considerably reducing construction costs and bringing the price down. Turns out that when you shift your order from 32 to 3 that hikes the price up quite a bit.
According to Defense News, the Navy is now trying to find an alternative shell that’s as powerful but much cheaper.
There are some alternatives already being considered, unfortunately many of them come with a drawbacks including reduced range or requiring a considerable refit of the gun on the ship.
What we’re all really hoping however is that the US Navy scraps this idea entirely and installs its futuristic new railgun on the ship.
According to sources inside the program the Navy is already building a prototype which would be compatible with the advanced stealth ship.
Developed by BAE Systems, the US Navy believes this weapon will become the ultimate low-cost replacement for conventional missiles.
It replaces the conventional explosive method of firing a bullet for cold, hard technology. Using the magnets the weapon is able of slinging a ‘slug’ at speeds up to Mach 7 with pinpoint accuracy.
Powered by a ‘pulse’ firing system that’s now no bigger than a packet of cigarettes, the gun will soon feature a repeating action allowing it to fire multiple projectiles per minute.