$376M for Advanced (naval) Gun System
BAE acquisition United Defense LP’s Armament Systems Division in Minneapolis, MN received a not to exceed ceiling $376 million cost-plus-award-fee contract for continuation of design, development and test of the 155mm Advanced Gun System (AGS), in support of the DD (X) Destroyer program. The contract includes the fully automated gun, magazine and Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP).
The AGS is a 155mm Gun Weapon System planned for installation in the DD (X) Destroyers to provide high-volume, sustainable gunfire in support of amphibious operations and joint land battles. The DD (X), in turn, is envisioned as a land attack destroyer with strong stealth features and other enhancements that enable it to get close to shore in a war zone and still survive. As DID noted in its recent coverage, the DD (X) program had its costs capped at $1.7 billion per ship (current estimates are $3 billion) in the proposed Congressional FY 2006 budget. Note that this provision has not been finalized.
The AGS gun system will be capable of firing up to 12 rounds per minute from an automated magazine storing as many as 750 rounds (but usually closer to 350). The AGS ammunition is equivalent to the USMC M198 155mm Howitzer in firepower, and also includes development of a 155mm version of the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP), a GPS/INS guided munition capable of hitting targets accurately up to a distance of 100 nautical miles. Future variants may also incorporate seeker heads, and efforts are underway to achieve as much commonality as possible with U.S. Army 155mm projectiles.
With fully automated magazines and LRLAPs, the AGS is expected to be able to provide the needed accuracy, range, responsiveness, and volume of fire for effective and sustained Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS). On the down side, its high electrical power and space requirements (approximately 800 kW per mount) limit its refit capability somewhat on older ships.
Work on this contract will be performed in Minneapolis, Minn. (55%) and Orlando, Fla. (45%), and is expected to be completed by September 2010. The contract was not competitively procured. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C issued the contract (N00024-05-C-5117).
Additional Readings and Sources
- DID FOCUS Article – Dead Aim, or Dead End? The USA’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Program
- United Defense, LP – Advanced Gun System
- Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control – AGS/LRLAP
- U.S. Navy “Navy of the Future” Series – The DD (X) Program
- FY 2006 House Defense Budget Report re: Cost Caps
- M.I.T. Project in Naval Ship Conversion, Spring 2003 – Advanced Gun System (AGS) Backfit DD-988 Naval Gunfire Support Ship Conversion (PDF document). This study proposed turning the Spruance-Class Destroyer USS Thorn into a test bed for the AGS system in order to mitigate risk on the DD (X) project. According to the study, it would also be possible to turn retiring Spruance-class ships into land-attack destroyers by removing the aft 5-inch gun and some of its air defense capabilities.