(CNSNews.com) – The United States Navy will no longer buy 155mm Long Range Land-Attack Projectiles (LRLAP) specifically made for its newly commissioned stealth warship, the USS Zumwalt [DDG-1000], because the guided missiles can cost up to $800,000 each, Defense News reported.
An unnamed Navy official told Defense News that “we don’t have an issue with the gu , and no issue with that ship carrying the gun. We have an issue on the price point.”
"The Navy continuously monitors the gun and ammunition industry capability and capacities. To address evolving threats and mission requirements, the Navy has evaluated industry projectile solutions--including conventional and hyper-velocity projectiles--that can also meet the DDG 1000 deployment schedule and that could potentially be used as an alternative to LRLAP for DDG 1000,” Navy spokesperson Capt. Thurraya Kent told Business Insider.
However, Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the guided missiles - which are designed to provide “long-range off-shore precision fire support to Marine Corps and Army forces engaged in expeditionary assaults or littoral urban operations" - says that they "can produce similar or more lethal effects at less cost” than more conventional rounds.
The 155mm LRLAP is “both the most accurate and longest-range guided projectile in U.S. Navy history, with a maximum range in excess of 63 nautical miles. [It] provides single strike lethality against a wide range of targets, with three times the lethality of traditional 5-inch naval ballistic rounds—and because it is guided, fewer rounds can produce similar or more lethal effects at less cost,” the defense contractor pointed out.
According to the Navy, the USS Zumwalt is “the lead ship of a class of next-generation multi-mission destroyers, features a state-of-the-art electric propulsion system, wave-piercing tumblehome hull, stealth design, and the latest warfighting technology and weaponry available.”
The new warships are designed for “ensuring stability, reassuring allies, deterring adversaries, and providing the nation's leaders with options in times of crisis."
The Navy initially planned to build 28 ships of the Zumwalt class, but wound up reducing that number to only three due to cost overruns.
Lockheed Martin initially stated in 2001 that the cost of the LRLAP would be “less than $50,000 each.” However, the unit price increased dramatically after the Navy cancelled its plans for 25 other ships.
“We were going to buy thousands of these rounds,” stated the Navy official. “But quantities of ships killed the affordable round.”
The Navy is reportedly considering alternatives for the LRLAP .
The USS Zumwalt is the only ship of its class that has been officially commissioned by the Navy. The other two ships, the Michael Monsoor and Lyndon B. Johnson, have not yet received their commissions.
The Associated Press reported that the 610-foot Zumwalt shows up on a radar screen as a 40- to 50-foot fishing boat, making it 50 times harder to detect than a conventional destroyer and ideal for entering an enemy's coastal waters.