The Navy has now confirmed that the Zumwalt’s Advanced Gun System (AGS), the entire reason the Zumwalt class was built, will not be getting any new ammunition round. After the gun’s Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) was cancelled due to the cost per round reaching $1M (see, "A Ship With No Ammunition"), the Navy indicated that they would adapt the Army’s 155 mm Excalibur artillery shell for use in the AGS (see, "Excalibur - LRLAP Replacement"). This would have provided a range of around 20 miles or so – woefully short compared to the LRLAP’s reported range of 70+ miles. Now, even this option has been dropped by the Navy. Instead, the Navy will monitor industry over the coming years and wait to see if some new, suitable round happens to appear. Unfortunately, given the AGS gun barrel’s unique twist arrangement, that’s a pretty unlikely occurrence. (1)
“A year after the Navy decided to abandon the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) for the Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer, there is no plan in place for a replacement round for the Advanced Gun System (AGS) the ships are built around, service officials said on Wednesday.” (1)
What will the Navy do with the Zumwalts?
The Navy’s new plan is to focus the Zumwalts on deep strike land attack (Tomahawks) and anti-surface (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – LRASM, maybe?) warfare by using the ship’s 80 Mk54 peripheral VLS cells. I guess that makes the Zumwalt’s each an $8B+, lightly loaded arsenal ship?
Also, recall that the Zumwalt’s unique tumblehome hull form has some inherent sea keeping problems due to its shape (see, "Zumwalt Tumblehome Tests"). That was considered acceptable since the ship’s mission was intended to be shallow water littoral warfare rather than open ocean sailing. Now, with the mission switched to largely open ocean work, the ship will have significant sailing issues to deal with. The Navy had previously issued limitations on sailing in certain quartering seas. This may be a mission that the ship has difficulty executing.
So, the Navy has built a $24B+ class of three ships whose entire reason for existence was the AGS and now the AGS is a non-functional, ocean-going, paperweight and the fall-back mission is one that the ship’s flawed sea keeping may render difficult or impossible to execute in common sea conditions. Just plain, WOW !
Someone has got to be fired! - or, as the Navy refers to it, promoted.
(1)USNI News website, “No New Round Planned For Zumwalt Destroyer Gun System; Navy Monitoring Industry”, Sam LaGrone,
11-Jan-2018, retrieved 11-Jan-2018,