(National Sentinel)Â Strategic: As potential enemies build and field new weapon systems with a longer reach, the U.S. Army is planning to build what developers call a “super cannon” that will be able to hit targets up to 1,000 miles away.
The design will be based on proven technology used in current artillery systems, say Army officials. It’s just that the new gun will have a much longer range.
NotesÂ Breaking Defense:
Why is the Army confident it can build aÂ Strategic Long-Range CannonÂ to shoot with precision more than one thousand miles? Because the superweapon will be essentially supersizing proven technologies found in the existing 155 mm howitzer andÂ rocket-boosted artillery shellsÂ from the 1980s.
â€œI donâ€™t want to oversimplify, (but) itâ€™s a bigger one of those,â€ Col. John Rafferty told reporters at the AUSA Conference in Washington, D.C.Â â€œWeâ€™re scaling up things that weâ€™re already doing.â€
Rafferty, who will soon be promoted to brigadier general (one star), is the modernization director for the Army’s Long-Range Strategic Fires program, which is a top priority for the service.
The program involves everything from new hypersonic missiles to longer barrels for the standard 155 mm artillery piece the Army has used for decades.
The Strategic Long-Range Cannon (SLRC) will be designed to strike targets that are comparable to hypersonic missiles in development using existing, proven principles. The gun will simply be bigger, is all.
It’s not certain just how much bigger the gun will be, however. Rafferty told reporters that it will at least be “moveable,” if not mobile outright.
â€œRelocatable,â€ said another officer.
You may recall that Nazi Germany built the massiveÂ Schwerer Gustav railway gun, as Hitler inspected in 1942:
Asked why, if the capability has long existed, hadn’t the Army build such a gun before, Cafferty said there wasn’t really a need in the past.
â€œItâ€™s never been done before (because) before, we havenâ€™t been pushed,â€ Rafferty said. â€œWe havenâ€™t had a role inÂ strategic fires.”
Currently, the Army relies on other service branches — the Air Force and Navy, particularly — to deliver strategic long-range fires. But that is changing as potential adversaries develop weapon systems — particularly anti-air systems — that will require the Army to have a role in strategic fire missions.
U.S. field artillery has been badly neglected over the past 15 years while the military fought mostly low-intensity insurgent warfare. In the meantime, the Russian and Chinese militaries developed much longer-range artillery that can outrange existing U.S. and NATO systems,Â Breaking Defense noted.
Never miss a story! Sign up for our daily email newsletter â€”Â Click here!