$108.9M to BAE to Finish AGS Naval Gun Development
BAE Systems – Armament Systems Division in Minneapolis, MN received a $108.9 million cost-plus-award-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5117) for completion of design, development and integration of the Advanced Gun System (AGS), in support of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class program. Work will be performed in Minneapolis, MN (76%); Burlington, VT (19%); and Baltimore, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2009. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued the contract.
The Advanced Gun System (AGS) is intended to be the 14,500 ton DDG-1000 “destroyer’s” primary naval gunfire support weapon, fitting into a stealth-enhancing turret and emerging to fire 155mm GPS-guided “Long Range Land Attack Projectile” guided shells up to 100 miles inshore.
The difficulty with placing 155mm howitzer-class guns on ships is the level of recoil, which can play havoc with a smaller ship’s stability. The Germans have experimented with KMW/HDW’s ‘MONARC,’ which uses a self-sufficient PzH-2000 mobile howitzer turret mounted on a 6,160 ton F124 Sachsen Class frigate. While an intricate elastic mounting system handled the recoil, adapting all of the PzH-2000′s systems for the corrosive naval environment proved more difficult than expected and MONARC appears to have been removed from plans for the new F125 Class frigates; Oto Melara’s 127mm lightweight naval gun will be used instead.
In the absence of a 155mm gun, the use of long-range, guided rounds like Oto Melara’s Vulcano can certainly extend the range of existing naval guns, and their move toward similar naval and 155mm versions of this ammunition family is also likely to be a harbinger of trends to come.