I know I denounced the Navy’s DDG-1000 class just the other day. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think there are some positive aspects to the program.
One of the more promising parts of the class is the Advanced Gun System or AGS. Ever since the retirement of the last of the WWII gun cruisers, the Navy has only had 5” guns to provide naval gunfire support to Marines ashore. The 5”/54caliber and modernized 5”/62caliber guns are good guns, but they are rather short ranged, and worse, fire a relatively light projectile.
The AGS is an automatic 155mm gun designed to provide long range precision fires with a high rate of fire. While 155mm has been a standard caliber for Army artillery since World War I, this is the first time it has been adapted for shipboard use (US light cruisers used 6” guns [152mm]).
Unlike Army 155mm artillery which uses bagged propellant, the AGS uses fixed ammunition with the propellant in a steel case. This is mostly to facilitate the autoloading system. Watch this video and see the autoloader in action.
You’ll notice the gun actually elevates to the vertical after each round to allow for loading. With the use of advance ammunition similar to the Army’s Excalibur guided projectile, and techniques such as rocket assisted and base bleed projectiles, the AGS will give the Navy a longer range and greater accuracy and heavier punch than the current 5” gun.
Unfortunately, the AGS can’t readily be refitted to existing ships such as the DDG-51 class. But if the AGS performs as expected, you can be certain there will be great pressure to fit follow-on classes with this larger, heavier, longer ranged gun.
For more information on the DDG-1000, check out the comments in this post at CDR Salamander’s place.