The USS Zumwalt destroyer can’t fire its guns because the ammo is too expensive

The USS Zumwalt destroyer can’t fire its guns because the ammo is too expensive, by Kyle Mizokami.

Just three weeks after commissioning the USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navy has admitted it is canceling ammunition specially developed for the ship’s high-tech gun systems because the rounds are too expensive. The guns, tailor made for the destroyer, will be unable to fire until the Navy chooses a cheaper replacement round.

The Zumwalt-class destroyers were conceived in the late 1990s as the first of a new generation of stealthy warships. The radar signature of the 610 foot long warship is that of a 50-foot fishing boat, making the Zumwalts great for getting in close to an enemy coastline and then using the 155-millimeter Advanced Gun Systems mounted on the front of the hull. The guns were designed to fire the advanced Long Range Land Attack Projectile, a GPS guided shell with a range of 60 miles.

The result would have been a destroyer that could rain shells down on enemy targets incredible accuracy, clearing a path for U.S. Marines as they advance inland. Alternately, they could strike targets such as terrorist training camps, military bases, and other static targets. The two Advanced Gun System howitzers are fed by a magazine containing 600 rounds of ammunition, making it capable destroying hundreds of targets at a rate of up to ten per minute. …

Now the U.S. Navy is admitting that the LRLAP round is too expensive to actually purchase, leaving the nearly $4 billion dollar destroyer’s guns high and dry.

According to Defense News, the LRLAP round costs $800,000 … each, making the rounds prohibitively expensive. The Navy blames the rise in cost on the fact that the Zumwalt class went from a planned 32 ships to just 3, drastically cutting the number of LRLAP rounds it was going to purchase.

USS Zumwalt

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is the lead ship of the Zumwalt class and the first ship to be named for Admiral Elmo Zumwalt.

The Navy has known it wasn’t getting 32 Zumwalt-class destroyers since 2008 …. Why it has taken this long to announce it would not be buying ammunition for a $22.5 billion dollar weapon system — which was specifically developed to use that ammunition — is a mystery.

Drain the swamp.

hat-tip Charles