Skip to comments.Deck Guns Gain Range
Posted on 11/05/2009 5:47:44 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
Deck Guns Gain Range
Nov 4, 2009
The demand for naval guns is driven by two requirements, each at the extreme end of the performance spectrum. One is for artillery whose ranges go well beyond those of the big guns used in World War II. The average range of naval guns then was 35-40 km. (22-25 mi.), with the 18-in. (46-cm.) guns of Japan's Yamato-class battleships capable of firing 1,460-kg. (3,218-lb.) projectiles 26 mi. The other requirement is for small-caliber weapons to defend against airborne and asymmetric threats and for use in missions where navies confront pirates and other criminals.
These requirements are leading to developments that, in the case of big guns, gradually push the envelope of ballistic capability. U.S. and European navies are foregoing radical changes in gun design and ammunition for incremental improvements that increase range, payload and accuracy. In small guns the emphasis is on remote operation, sophisticated target-acquisition systems and rapid, sustained rates of fire.
When it comes to big guns, the U.S. Navy still relies on BAE Systems' 127-mm./54-caliber (127/54) Mk.45 5-in. gun, the latest version of which is the longer-barreled 127/62 Mod 4. None of the exotic long-range guns or guided ammunition the Navy has been developing (think rail guns and missile-firing hybrids) is near deployment.
European countries have attempted to develop high-power 155-mm. naval guns. The 155 is preferred because it is the caliber of their biggest army guns and procurement officials believe this would increase standardization, commonality of ammunition and reduce operational costs. France and Germany studied the concept, but only the U.K. is working on it.
The Italian navy is the only country with a new long-range naval gun program nearing service, with a 127-mm./64-cal. mount from Oto Melara, coupled with the company's long-range Vulcano ammunition in guided and unguided versions. Italy will use the 127/64 lightweight gun on Fremm frigates. The weapon may also be fitted on the French navy's Fremm frigates, budget permitting, and has been ordered by Germany for the new F-125 frigates. The Royal Netherlands Navy is adopting the Vulcano ammunition for its upgraded 127/54 Oto Melara mounts, and at least three other navies are discussing acquisition of the 127/64 gun and ammunition combination.
In the U.K., BAE Systems proposed the 155-mm. TMF (Third-Generation Maritime Fire Support) system to the Royal Navy. This consists of the company's 114-mm. (4.5-in.) Mark 8 Mod 1 mount/turret, fitted with the British Army's AS90 155-mm./39-cal. gun, also made by BAE. The modification makes the mount 2 tons heavier (24.5 tons) and reduces the rate of fire to 12 rounds/min., due to the double-stroke loading cycle that stems from modular charges.
The system is proposed for the Type 45 destroyers slated to enter service with 114-mm. guns and as a retrofit for Type 23 frigates. So far, use of the heavier and longer army-standard 155-mm./52-cal. gun has been ruled out since it would require substantial turret and mount modifications. Preliminary studies have nevertheless been carried out on adapting the gun fro naval use. The only recent improvement the Royal Navy received for bombardment was the introduction, in 2004, of unguided extended-range (ER), base-bleed, high-explosive rounds, which increased range to 27.5 km. from 22 km.
Oto Melara, meanwhile, is producing the first batch of the new 127/64 guns with various improvements, following tests on the Bersagliere frigate with the earlier 127/54 lightweight gun. The production turret now weighs less than 29 tons and is capable of firing more than 35 rounds/min. The gun has a "peppered" muzzle brake (similar to those on land-based guns) with an aluminum shield, which replaces the glass-reinforced thermoset polymer version. The choice was made to reduce costs and improve maintenance without affecting radar cross-section qualities. Radar-absorbing material is still used in critical areas.
The 127/64 relies on an advanced ammunition-handling system, consisting of four revolving drum magazines holding 56 ready-to-fire rounds of more than four different types (see diagram). This permits flexibility in ammunition selection and a high rate of sustained fire. The drums can be reloaded while the gun is firing, due to an innovative semiautomatic system that moves ammunition from the magazine. In the current configuration the magazine holds 350 rounds. The Italian and German navies have ordered the system, and Oto Melara is developing an automated version.
The gun is one of the few of its caliber capable of three missions: antiship and antiair defense and bombardment. It has a GPS system and Doppler radar that measures the velocity of each round to increase the accuracy of successive rounds. The mount includes a Vulcano ammunition programmer that gives each shot its mode of attack prior to firing.
Pitiful Pop Gun!
Looks like the days of 8-inch and bigger Naval guns are gone forever. Too bad, in a way - that was the CHEAPEST way to deliver high explosives to coastal targets, and might still be very useful, against 3rd world countries.
>”Pitiful Pop Gun!”
BUT, Periously Potent.
A shame. Rail guns are way cool.
50 caliber is 1/2 inch or .5 inch. Why would a 127 is not 54 caliber. Does the nave use different usage of caliber? 114 MM equals 4.5 inch which would be 450 caliber.??????
Ah yes. The old MacNamarian goal of commonality.
The main similarity between a naval rifle and a field artillery piece is the fact that they are both rifled tubes. Naval guns will likely always be more accurate and have more range because you don’t have to worry about the length and weight as much as you do with field artillery. You also don’t have to worry about the weight of the ammo as much. The two are quite different.
Kind of a moot point when you have a Gelding-in-Chief who will never squeeze the trigger.
In this case, the “caliber” is the ratio of barrel length to projectile/muzzle diameter. A 5” 54 caliber gun has a barrel 270 inches (22.5 feet) long.
The second number of 127/54 means that the length of the barrel is 54 times 127mm bore. WWII naval guns were 5”/38. Same diameter, shorter barrel.
You're thinking of .50 caliber, which is a round used in heavy machine guns, some sniper rifles and other weapons.
In this case, the caliber is the ratio of barrel length to projectile/muzzle diameter. A 5 54 caliber gun has a barrel 270 inches (22.5 feet) long
Does the army still have their 8 inch guns?
I heard a story about the New Jersey when it was deployed in Lebanon in 1983. I remember the news reports that shelling from the hills was unremitting. The New Jersey fired her guns and it stopped. The news reported that the New Jersey shells had destroyed a command bunker.
Many years later, I heard this account. The Syrians built and occupied a command bunker hardenened with more than three feet, if I recall correctly, of reinforced concrete - more than a 155mm gun could penetrate.
The New Jersey fired just three shots. The first was a high explosive detonation just above the surface to clear away loose material. The second was a high impact round to crack the concrete. The third was an armor piercing round, which penetrated the bunker.
Result - alot of dead high value targets and the cessation of the shelling.
As an ex-Army guy, I can assure you - EVERYTHING the Navy does is confusing. They use 5” guns; the Army would use 127 mm guns. They use degrees, we use mils.
Don’t talk to me about their ranks.
Marines, on the other hand, are way cool.
For perspective, a 1966 Chevy Nova 4-door wagon had a curb weight of 3,155 pounds.
Does the army still have their 8 inch guns?I think they're all retired. All 155 mm or MRLS now.