The U.S. Army is continuing development of a so-called “super gun” artillery piece capable of sending projectiles 1,000 miles downrange, or more than far enough to be free of counterbattery fire from existing enemy guns.

Top service officials say the new gun, when fully developed and deployed, would be able to attack targets in and around China, including Beijing’s bases on the South China Sea islands, well out of range of Chinese defenses.

“You can imagine a scenario where the Navy feels that it cannot get into the South China Sea because of Chinese naval vessels, or whatever,” Army Secretary Mark Esper said during a media roundtable earlier this week.

“We can – from a fixed location, on an island or some other place – engage enemy targets, naval targets, at great distances and maintain our standoff and yet open the door, if you will, for naval assets or Marine assets,” he added.

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