The US Navy has decided to suspend production of guided precision projectiles for the guns mounted on its newest Zumwalt-class warships, citing major cost overruns.
Lockheed Martin-built Long Range Land-Attack Projectile (LRLAP), a guided precision munition that is key to the DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class’s mission, costs $800,000 per round, as reported by Defense News, which quotes an unnamed source in the US Navy.
According to the report, the cost of LRLAP increased steadily as the numbers of Zumwalt-class destroyers were cut.
“We were going to buy thousands of these rounds,” said a Navy official familiar with the program. “But quantities of ships killed the affordable round.” From a total of 28 ships, to seven, and finally to three, the class shrank and costs did not.
The decision to accept the LRLAP cancellation is part of the Program Objective Memorandum 2018 (POM18) effort, the Pentagon’s annual budget process. Meanwhile, the Navy intends to look for an alternative.
“We are looking at multiple different rounds for that gun,” the Navy official said, adding that “three or four different rounds” have been looked at, including the Army’s Excalibur munition from Raytheon, and the Hyper Velocity Projectile (HVP), a project under development by the Office of Naval Research and BAE Systems.
The LRLAP is the only munition designed to be fired from the warship’s Advanced Gun System (AGS), a 155mm/62-caliber gun with an automated magazine and handling system. Each of the three Zumwalts will carry two of the guns.