Advanced Gun System
The Advanced Gun System is a naval gun system under development by BAE Systems Armaments Systems
BAE Systems Land and Armaments
BAE Systems Land & Armaments is a subsidiary of BAE Systems Inc. and is responsible for the design, development and production of combat vehicles, ammunition, artillery systems, naval guns and missile launchers. It is the largest such company in the world...

 (formerly United Defense
United Defense
United Defense Industries was a United States defense contractor which is now part of BAE Systems Land and Armaments. This company produces combat vehicles, artillery, naval guns, missile launchers and precision munitions.-History:...

) for the Zumwalt class destroyer
Zumwalt class destroyer
The Zumwalt class destroyer is a planned class of United States Navy destroyers, designed as multi-mission ships with a focus on land attack. The class is a scaled-back project that emerged after funding cuts to the larger DD-21 vessel program. The program was previously known as the "DD"...

 of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. Production has started; the first magazine was delivered to the U.S. Navy on 25 May 2010.

Originally designed for mounting as a vertical gun, this 155 mm (6.1") caliber gun has since been slated for mounting within a more conventional turret arrangement. The AGS is designed to offer a weapon system capable of delivering precision munitions at a high rate of fire and at over-the-horizon ranges. As a vertical gun system it would only have been capable of firing guided munitions; the turret mounting will allow the use of unguided munitions as well.


The AGS uses the same 155 mm caliber as most American field artillery forces, although it is unable to fire the same ammunition. Instead, a new range of ammunition is under development for this weapon. The gun barrel is 62 caliber
Caliber (artillery)
In artillery, caliber or calibredifference in British English and American English spelling is the internal diameter of a gun barrel, or by extension a relative measure of the length....

s long, and is able to fire the entire magazine (300+ rounds) with an average rate of fire
Rate of fire
Rate of fire is the frequency at which a specific weapon can fire or launch its projectiles. It is usually measured in rounds per minute , or per second .-Overview:...

 of ten rounds per minute using a water cooled barrel. The AGS is to be mounted in a turret specifically designed for the Zumwalt class destroyer with fully automated ammunition supply and operation. The turret itself is designed to be stealthy, allowing for the entire length of the barrel to be enclosed within the turret housing when not firing.


The development of new ammunition for the AGS under the name Long Range Land Attack Projectile
Long Range Land Attack Projectile
The Long Range Land Attack Projectile is a developmental program to produce a precision guided 155 mm naval artillery shell for the U.S. Navy...

 (LRLAP) is one of the major advances offered by the AGS program. The munitions are to be highly accurate, with a circular error probable
Circular error probable
In the military science of ballistics, circular error probable is an intuitive measure of a weapon system's precision...

 of 50 m (164 ft) or less. Lockheed-Martin conducted a flight test of the munition in July 2005, reporting a flight distance of 59 nautical miles (109.3 km).

The LRLAP ammunition features separate projectile and propellant portions. Total weight is 225 pounds (102.1 kg), including a bursting charge of 24 pounds (10.9 kg). The maximum length of the combined munition is 88 inches (223.5 cm), amounting to about 14 calibers.


A primary advantage of the AGS over the existing Mark 45 5" gun
5-54 Mark 45
The 5-Inch/54-caliber lightweight gun is a modern U.S. naval artillery gun mount consisting of a 5-inch L54 Mark 19 gun on the Mark 45 mount. Originally designed and built by United Defense, it is now manufactured by BAE Systems Land & Armaments after the former was acquired...

 which equips most major surface combatants of the US Navy is its increased capability for supporting ground forces and striking land targets. With a 10 round per minute capacity, it offers the ability to deliver firepower close to that of a battery of six 155 mm howitzer
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

s. This will increase the utility of vessels equipped with the weapon, especially in areas in which the US Navy exercises absolute sea supremacy.


The AGS is currently only slated for inclusion on the Zumwalt class destroyer although it could also be included in other future ship designs. No plans have been revealed to retrofit it to current ship designs. The shortening of Zumwalt procurement to three ships increases the likelihood that BAE will attempt to market AGS to other programs.


There has been research on extending the range of naval gunfire for many years. Gerald Bull
Gerald Bull
Gerald Vincent Bull was a Canadian engineer who developed long-range artillery. He moved from project to project in his quest to launch economically a satellite using a huge artillery piece, to which end he designed the Project Babylon "supergun" for the Iraqi government...

 and Naval Ordnance Station Indian Head tested an 11 inch sub-calibre saboted long-range round in a stretched 16"/45 Mark 6 battleship gun in 1967. The Advanced Gun Weapon System Technology Program (AGWSTP) evaluated a similar projectile with longer range in the 1980s. After the battleships were decommissioned in 1992, the AGWSTP became a 5" gun with an intended range of 180 kilometres (111.8 mi), which then led to the Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS). The original DD-21 was designed around this "vertical gun", but the project ran into serious technology/cost problems and was radically scaled back to a more conventional 6.1 inch Advanced Gun System (AGS). One advantage of this move was that the gun was no longer restricted to guided munitions.

See also

  • 8"/55 caliber Mark 71 gun
    8"/55 caliber Mark 71 gun
    The U.S. Navy's Major Caliber Lightweight Gun program was the 8"/55 caliber Mark 71 major caliber lightweight, single-barrel naval gun prototype that was mounted aboard the in 1975 to test the capability of destroyer-sized ships to provide shore bombardment support with the range previously...

    - US Navy's Major Caliber Lightweight Gun (MCLWG) program, designed & tested in 1975, program terminated in 1978.

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