The Navy is scrapping production of rounds for its newest warship, citing costs of nearly $1 million per unit.
“We don’t have an issue with the gun, and no issue with that ship carrying the gun. We have an issue on the price point,” a U.S. navy official familiar with the program told Defense News.
The move comes just two weeks after the Navy commissioned the U.S.S. Zumwalt, the next generation of the Navy’s guided missile destroyer program. The scrapped Long Range Land-Attack Projectile (LRLAP) fired from the Zumwalt would be capable of hitting targets up to 80 miles away. Lockheed Martin claims the rounds are so accurate they can “defeat targets in the urban canyons of coastal cities with minimal collateral damage.”
The Zumwalt is equipped with two large guns which are only capable of firing LRLAP rounds. The guns are still slated to be mounted on two upcoming Zumwalt class ships, and are the largest weapons to be designed for a warship since World War 2.
The round’s manufacturer’s defended the cost of the rounds citing funding cuts by the Pentagon. The Pentagon initially green-lit the program with an order of 28 ships, cut to 7, and eventually cut to 3. “The round was working, the way forward was logical. It’s just that the cost with a three-ship buy became a very high cost,” he continued.
The Navy is now reportedly exploring outside rounds that can be fired from the gun. Officials note that new rounds likely won’t be acquired before the ship goes to sea, after it spends another 18 months in service at San Diego. The Zumwalt is slated for extensive testing in 2018, before it can be declared ready for combat. The gun was designed to strike inland targets with high accuracy to support U.S. marines in a ground assault mounted by sea.
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