As a part of the Future Naval Capability program, the Navy is “leveraging commercial electronics miniaturization and computational performance increase to develop a common guided projectile for use in current 5 inch guns and future high velocity gun systems,” a spokeswoman told Scout for its July 18 report.
The weapon will fire at a rate of 10 rounds per minute and each round will travel at speeds as high as 5,600 miles per hour. It’s not the quite as fast as the speed of light—186,000 miles per second—but it easily outpaces the fastest bullets in existence today, which travel around 1,800 miles per hour.
The gun will also be used against hostile long-range targets.
Efforts to modernize naval warfare were emphasized during former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s commencement speech to US Naval Academy graduates in 2015. Carter said the force was working on new operations “using flocks of swarming drones for several different missions, adapting our Tomahawk missiles to be used against moving targets in a maritime environment, and using smart projectiles that can be fired from a destroyer’s five-inch gun to defeat incoming missiles,” at the event in Annapolis.
“In addition to the HVP technology development effort, the Navy continuously examines the effectiveness and utilization of current munitions and projectiles from industry for improvement in both range and precision,” Navy Lt. Lauren Chatmas told Scout Warrior.
It’s not clear when the rounds will reach initial operating capability.