The U.S. Navy's most advanced and sophisticated gun has a problem: its ammunition is too expensive to use.
The Long Range Land-Attack Projectile can hit a target more than 70 miles away, but each round costs about $1 million, reports MSN.
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin describes the LRLAP:
The 155mm Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP), is the primary projectile of the Advanced Gun System (AGS), the main armament of the U.S. Navy’s next-generation DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer. It provides long-range off-shore precision fire support to Marine Corps and Army forces engaged in expeditionary assaults or littoral urban operations.
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As a result of the high cost of the ammunition, the Navy says it won’t be buying any more of the weapons. The guns were to be used on its most advanced warship, the USS Zumwalt, which was commissioned in October.
The ship itself is part of the problem. The original plan was to build 32, but cost overruns ended up limiting the production to only three. And that caused the price of the ammunition to go way up.
“We were going to buy thousands of these rounds,” a Navy official told DefenseNews. “But quantities of ships killed the affordable round.”
The same official stressed that the performance of the weapon was not the issue.
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“Everything seems to have been performing correctly,” he explained. “I never saw any test results that showed we had problems. 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 ... 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.”
The Navy is currently exploring alternatives.