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Keeping The "Gunfire" In Naval Gunfire Support

Keeping The "Gunfire" In Naval Gunfire Support


AUTHOR LCdr. Mark C. Kelsey, USN


CSC 1991


SUBJECT AREA - Operations





Evolving concepts of the amphibious assault will exploit

capabilities to land forces in relatively unopposed areas from over-

the-horizon (0TH) wherever and whenever possible. However

circumstances may still require assaults against defended beaches and

landing zones. In a worst-case combat environment, the seaward

approaches to the objective will be defended by a combination of

surface-to-surface missiles, coastal defense guns, and mines.

With budget pressures expected to reduce the aircraft carrier

force level to 12 carriers -- and possibly as few as 10 -- in FY-95

and with dramatic reductions in forward-deployed forces, the Naval

Surface Fire Support (NSFS) platforms may be the only supporting arm

available to provide the responsive, close and continuous all-weather

fire support during the early phases of the amphibious assault.

Unfortunately, the current NSFS inventory cannot satisfy this

requirement. First, the range of the current 5-inch/54 and 5-inch/38

guns is too short to isolate the beachhead from coastal defense

weapons. Second, the accuracy of the 5-inch gun is insufficient

against mobile armored forces and hardened point targets. Finally,

the lethality of the 5-inch gun is inadequate against these same


Increases in the present level of NSFS, now at its lowest since

the late l94Os, are necessary. The technology is available for large

improvements in the very near future. Just as the "amtrac" provided a

technological answer to a crucial tactical requirement that led to a

strategic victory, so to can the adoption of the imaginative,

practical solutions provided herein, make up for the shortfall in


But if we are not prepared to pay for fire support on a scale

which is adequate to underwrite success in opposed landings, then we.

should accept squarely that, whatever capability we now possess, it

will no longer be one of power projection ashore.







Thesis Statement: The currect inventory of Naval Surface Fire Support

(NSFS) platforms is inadequate to support Marine Corps requirements

due to primary dependence on 5-inch guns.


I. U.S. Navy's Mission

A. Power Projection

1. Amphibious assault

2. Naval Bombardment

B. Fire Support

l. Naval Guns

2. Aircraft


II. Contribution of Naval Guns

A. World War II

1. European Theater

2. Island Campaign of the Pacific Theater

B. Korean War

C. Vietnam War


III. Threat

A. Growing Land-Sea Interface

B. Amphibious assaults

l. Unopposed Landings

2. Defended Beaches and Landing Zones

C. Soviet-style Coastal Defense Principles

D. Weapons of War

1. Common Weapons and Weapons Systems

2. Proliferation


IV. NSFS Capabilities

A. Nature of War

B. Power Projection

1. Aircraft

2. Naval Guns


V. Requirements

A. Enhance Amphibious Forcible Entry Capability

B. Develop Long-Range Surface Fire Support Capability

l. Near-Term (High Pay-off Improvements to Existing Systems)

2. Mid-Term

3. Long-Term (Evolutionary Replacement of Existing Systems)


VI. Conclusion





Title 10, U.S. Code, defines the U.S. Navy's mission as " . . . to


be organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained


combat operations in support of U.S. national interests." (24 :913)


The Navy's functions are to conduct sea control and power projection


operations. Power projection operations are those aspects of naval


operations which attack the enemy's homeland, bases, or defensive


positions. They include amphibious assault and naval bombardment of


enemy targets ashore in support of land campaigns. Although Mahan,


the preeminent naval historian, generally disregarded the utility of


naval artillery and of sea-borne infantry assaults against targets


ashore, power projection from the sea is a mission of growing


significance. (2: 83) Naval commanders need to pay more careful


attention to the interaction of sea forces with the events on the


ground. One good reason for this: there will be more interaction in


the future.


Complete understanding of the amphibious operation must include


recognition of its chief limitation -- the vulnerability of the


landing force during the early hours of the assault. Strength ashore


must be built-up from zero combat power ashore to a coordinated,


balanced force capable of accomplishing the assigned mission.. The


build-up must be quick and uninterrupted and must include forces


strong enough to overcome the enemy. In an amphibious operation, the


total combat power available to the commander is the sum of maneuver


and fire support. All amphibious operations rely upon fire support


from the sea. It is the only surface support available during the


initial stages of the landing. The effective use of fire support



available from the various supporting arms is often a deciding factor


in the success of the Amphibious Task Force (ATF) mission. The three


available supporting arms are aircraft, artillery, and naval gunfire.


The general mission of naval gunfire is to provide responsive


fire support for the assault of the objective by destroying or


neutralizing the following:


(1) Shore installations that oppose the approach of ships and




(2) Defenses that may oppose the landing force.


(3) Defenses that may oppose the post-landing advance of the


landing force. (7: 1-1)


Efforts to bolster the Navy's power projection capabilities have


focused on getting the TOMAHAWK Ship-/Submarine-Launched Cruise


Missile (SLCM) to sea and replacing the aging, carrier-based A-6E


INTRUDER all-weather, day-night attack aircraft. There have been


no corresponding improvements in naval gun systems since the Korean


War. (20: 9)


In 1983, responding to a question posed by Senator Sam Nunn


(D-GA), then-Marine Corps Commandant General Robert H. Barrow said:


The current Naval Surface Fire Support inventory is inadequate

to support Marine Corps requirements. First, the range of the

current 5-inch/54 and 5-inch/38 families is too short to isolate

the beachhead from Warsaw Pact artillery. Second, the accuracy

of the 6-inch gun family is insufficient against mobile armored

forces and hardened point targets. Finally, the lethality of the

5-inch gun family is inadequate against these same targets. (23)


Unfortunately, the 5-inch/54 MK 42/MK 45 rapid-firing gun will be the


largest caliber gun carried by U.S. warships when the two remaining


battleships, the USS WISCONSIN and the USS MISSOURI, with their


16-inch/50 guns, are retired in FY-92.



In the opinion of many people, opposed amphibious landings are a


type of naval warfare that is now only a part of history and that any


fire support requirements beyond the capability of the 5-inch gun


could be assigned to carrier aviation or deployed Marine air assets.


History books are replete with reminders that the key to successful


amphibious operations lies in close partnership between the landing


force and the forces afloat. The most important aspect of that


partnership was ample, responsive firepower; firepower which could


kill, suppress, disrupt, and cause dispersion. The British learned


that lesson at Gallipoli during World War I. When the Royal Navy was


unable to support key attacks with naval gunfire, the Anglo-French


landing forces were driven back to the crowded beaches, where they


suffered appalling casualties before the final evacuation.


These same people believe the size and configuration of the U.S.


Navy should be based on scenarios for the most likely intervention or


crisis management rather than the worst-case threat of general war.


However, a fleet which is designed to meet only the most probable


threat may be incapable of surviving the worst. Doctrine and tactics


can be adjusted, but attempting to scale up less capable or incapable


ships to fight against an overwhelming threat won't work.


It is through the use of violence -- or the credible threat of


violence, which requires the apparent willingness to use it -- that we


compel our enemy to do our will. (6: 11 ) The current Naval Surface


Fire Support (NSFS) capability doesn't present a "credible threat" of




"A good gun causes victory, armor only postpones defeat."


-- Vice Admiral S. O. Makaroff (1l: 270)





On March 9, 1847, General Winfield Scott made the first


amphibious landing in American history at Veracruz, Mexico. The


landing was unopposed and 10,000 troops came ashore without loss


of life. (16: 147)


In the early 19:30's at Quantico, Virginia, Fleet Marine Force


(FMF) leaders began to work on the problems of conducting amphibious


operations, which they found required new combat techniques and a


high-degree of combined-arms coordination, as well as special landing


craft and weapons. The fundamental problems of seizing a defended


beachhead were initially addressed by Major Earl H. Ellis, a protege


of Major General John A. Lejeune. Major Ellis foresaw that naval


gunfire and air strikes would provide the fire superiority that


conventional artillery could not provide while waves of landing craft


brought infantry, machine guns, light artillery, and tanks to the


beaches. It was expected, and history has shown, that the


concentrated violence of the beach assault could carry the Marines


through the beach defenses.


The contributions of naval guns in various World War II


amphibious operations, such as the landings on Sicily and at Salerno


in Italy, clearly demonstrated the decisive role of naval gunnery in


blunting major infantry and armored reserve counterattacks against


landing forces. In Sicily, naval gunfire supported our own advancing


troops, up to eight miles inland. "So devastating in its effective-


ness," wrote General Eisenhower, was this shooting, "as to dispose


of any doubts that naval guns are suitable for shore bombardment."


(17: 258) During the initial stages in the European Theater, the major



caliber gun (8-inch and larger) platforms defeated axis armored


counterattacks, primarily by stripping them of their infantry and


engineer support. On 14 September, 1943, after naval gunfire from (at


least 16 to 18) battleships, cruisers and destroyers had helped to


blunt the German counterattack at Salerno, Panzer commander General


Vietinghoff wrote, "with astonishing precision and freedom of


maneuver, these ships shot at every recognized target with over-


whelming effect." The next day, Marshal Kesselring ordered a general


retirement, "in order to evade effective shelling from warships."


(17: 356) Success of the Normandy operations hinged on the avail-


ability of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers for gunfire support.


Nothing was more certain than that very heavy naval gunfire would be


necessary to break down Germany's Atlantic Wall. The beginning of a


massive buildup began on 7 June. Although the troops had scant


artillery and tank support from their own elements that day, they


enjoyed ready and accurate naval gunfire support, which frustrated the


enemy's attempt to counterattack. At Omaha beach, two fire support;


ships, the 32-year old ARKANSAS and the TEXAS, shot off 771 rounds of


14-inch on D-day. "Without that gunfire," wrote Rear Admiral J. L.


Hall, Commander XI Phib Force Omaha, "we positively could not have


crossed the beaches." (17: 403) The destructive punch and accuracy of


observer-adjusted 16-inch fire facilitated the landing at Utah beach.


The U.S. battleship NEVADA even reached 10 miles inland in answer to


calls for fire support. In addition, experimental LCTs (Landing


Craft, Tank) carrying tanks and self-propelled artillery, delivered


8,000 rounds of unaimed 105-mm during the run to the beaches. Just


prior to touchdown of the leading waves, nine rocket craft fired a



9,000-round barrage. After the war, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt,


commenting on the numerous occasions when naval gunfire support had


prevented German counterattacks at Normandy, stated, "the fire of your


battleships was a main factor in hampering our counter-stroke. This


was a big surprise both in range and accuracy."


The value of naval gunfire in support of the amphibious landing


and subsequent operations ashore was particularly evident in the


islands campaigns of the Pacific Theatre. The Japanese penchant for


concealing heavily reinforced defensive positions required an


accurate, high velocity, major caliber weapon system to ensure the


assault would not be stopped at the beach. On Iwo Jima, Lieutenant


General Kuribayashi built a network of emplacements either deep under


concrete cover or underground. Pre-D-day bombardment was conducted by


six battleships and five cruisers who employed 14,000 rounds of major


caliber ammunition. The ships defeated over 76% of the beach


defenses during only ten hours of bombardment over three days. Had


those defenses not been silenced, a difficult but successful


amphibious assault would, instead, have been a failure. On D-day


alone, seven battleships, eight cruisers, nine destroyers, and 39


gunships delivered 3,000 rounds of major caliber ammunition, more than


10,000 rounds of 5-inch and 6-inch, and over 20,000 5-inch rockets.


Throughout the Iwo Jima campaign, naval gunfire supported the V


Amphibious Corps with a total of more than 251,000 naval projectiles.


LtGen Kuribayashi reported to the Japanese General Staff in February


1945, that, "the power of American warships . . . makes every landing


possible to whatever beachhead they like." (10: 28) Another successful


amphibious assault in the Central Pacific, made possible by prolonged



naval gunfire support against fortifications ashore, occurred at


Okinawa. Before the first troops touched shore at Okinawa, the Navy


had fired a total of almost 45,000 rounds of shells, 30,000 rockets,


and 22,500 mortars. On D-day, LCI (Landing Craft, Infantry) gunboats


led the amphibious assault to pound the beaches with a last-minute


barrage of 4.5-inch and 5-inch rockets, 4.2 inch mortars, and 40-mm


shells. A hundred yards astern came a wave of armed (and armored)


LVTs (Landing Vehicle, Tracked), their 76-mm howitzers ready to take


up the effort when the gunboats reached the abutting reefs and had to


turn back. (1)


The Korean War confirmed the importance of ample supporting fire-


power for operations such as the Inchon landing and the naval


evacuation of Hungnam. Long-range naval gunfire (battleship missions


averaged 32,000 yards; cruisers, 22,000 yards) support was directed at


hard targets (blockhouses, covered artillery emplacements, and


personnel shelters). 5-inch guns had little or no effect against


coastal defense positions. An indication of the relative lethality of


various naval rounds follows:


Naval Gunfire Amphibious Operations (19: 43)


Projectile Relative Value per Round

compared to 105-mm HE


5-inch HC 1.3 to 1.4


8-inch HC 2.8 to 3.7


16-inch HC 7.6 to 14.9


Viewed from a different perspective, as approximate equivalents in


terms of neutralization capability:


(1) One 16-inch HC (high capacity) round is 5.4 to 11.5 times as



deadly as a 5-inch HC round.


(2) One 8-inch HC round is 2.0 to 2.8 times as deadly as a


5-inch HC round.


Consequently, assigned missions were designed to harass, interdict,


and neutralize infantry and light armored vehicle movement.


Amphibious operations proved their viability again in Vietnam,


where they were used to provide flanking and blocking maneuvers.


Naval guns performed important missions during the Vietnam War -- in


amphibious assault, gunfire support, and shore bombardment. Most of


the fire support ships were destroyers whose 5-inch guns were too


small to do much damage and too short-ranged to do it far inland.


However, the battleship NEW JERSEY, reactivated at great expense, was


on station from September 1968 to March 1969 and fired 3,615 16-inch


shells, mainly to support the 3rd Marine Division operating along the


Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the 101st Airborne Division during bloody


fighting in the A Shau Valley. (14: 144) Naval gunfire support


requirements in Vietnam reconfirmed World War II and Korean War


experiences with the 5-inch gun. Specifically:


(1) The 5-inch gun could not meet range requirements which


routlnely exceeded 30,00 yards.


(2) The 5-inch gun projectile lacked the essential punch to


defeat typical hard targets. (26: 7)





Amphibious landings since World War II have demonstrated the


growing land-sea interface and have made use of new equipment and new


tactics. Recall the stunniny operations at Inchon, the Falkland War


where the British destroyer GLAMORGAN was struck by land-based


missiles, the United States swift use of airciaft and warship mobility


in taking Grenada and, most recently, the amphibious operations in the


Persian Gulf that were confounded by minefields. The trends of


increasing weapon range, accuracy, and lethality foreshadow:


(1) A change in the form of defense.


(2) A further erosion of the distinction between land and sea




As a result, power projection by amphibious forces is evolving into a


struggle between land forces, which have greater recuperative power,


and sea forces, which are less easily targeted because of their


mobility. (11: 157) For example, during World War II, the Japanese


gradually learned that a more effective defense against landing


assaults backed by overwhelming naval firepower was to develop inter-


locking positions rather than to expend their forces at the beaches.


The postwar period has seen technology enhancing the ability of


amphibious forces to penetrate to their targets, and at the-same time


for defensive systems to prevent that penetration. The measure-


countermeasure cycle places a premium on surprise, since once a system


is known to exist and its characteristics are understood, it is


usually possible to devise countermeasures that will reduce or


completely negate its effectiveness. The cycle is analogous to that


which began in the late 1830's when the United States adopted the



shell gun. The answer to the incendiary shell gun was iron. The


"race" between guns and armor -- between penetration and protection --


has become a war between increasingly sophisticated scouting and


antiscouting sensors. (16: 125)


While evolving concepts for the conduct of the amphibious assault


will exploit the capabilities to land forces in relatively unopposed


areas from over-the-horizon (0TH) whenever and wherever possible,


circumstances may still require assaults against defended beaches and


landing zones. Moreover, the landing force once ashore in the


objective area must be prepared to face the type of violent counter-


attacks using highly mobile, mechanized forces that the threat




In a worst-case scenario, the seaward approaches to the


objective will be defended by a combination of multiple rocket


launchers and surface-to-surface missiles, coastal defense artillery,


and mines. A perfect example can be found in Southwest Asia, along


the Kuwaiti coastline, where Iraq employed classic Soviet coastal


defense principles. The intricate defensive system is designed to:


(1) Engage at long range to destroy the enemy in the water.


This includes using not only the weapons organic to the motorized


rifle division, but also all other assets that can be brought to bear


on the ATF while it is in transit to the amphibious operations area




(2) Employ overlapping crossfires just off the beaches.


(3) Push the enemy back into the sea. If the enemy manages to


land, an effort will be made to literally push him back into the sea


by bringing maximum firepower to bear, and launching a decisive



counterattack before the enemy landing force can build-up power




(4) Maneuver weapons and manpower behind the beach to shape the




The Marine Corps Weapons of the World Handbook highlights the most


common weapons and weapons systems available in the worldwide


expeditionary environment (and used by Iraq) to support this defense


in-depth strategy. (25) They include:


(1)            Artillery


100-mm Field Gun M-1955 21,000 meters

100-mm Antitank Gun MT-12 21,000 meters

122-mm Howitzer D-30 21,900 meters with RAP

122-mm Field Gun D-74 24,000 meters

130-mm Field Gun M-46 27,490 meters

152-mm Gun-Howitzer D-20 24,000 meters with RAP

152-mm Self-Propelled Howitzer M-1973 30,000 Meters with RAP

(2)            Multiple Rocket Launchers and Surface-to-Surface Missiles

122-mm Multiple (40) Rocket Launcher BM-21 20,500 meters

SS-1C/SCUD-B Surface-to-Surface Missile 300km

FROG-7/VOLGA Surface-to-Surface Rocket 70km

(3)            Tanks

T-54/T-55 Medium Tank 21,000 meters

T-62 Medium Tank 20,000 meters

T-72 Medium Tank 20,000 meters plus



Each year the weapons of war become more destructive, more


accurate, more transportable, more numerous, and more available. The


proliferation of technologically sophisticated weapons, combined with



the demonstrated willingness of the recipients of these weapons to use


them, poses a dangerous threat to U.S. naval forces deployed overseas.


Limitations on the ability of warships to operate within range of


land-based weapons of comparable [or greater] striking power have


never been greater than they are now. For example, more than 30


Third World countries possess some combination of ship-, air-, or


submarine-launched antiship cruise missile, and more than 10 of those


countries have coastal defense missile batteries. (25)


The days when the poor and destitute countries of the world


equipped their military units with only antiquated arms are long gone.


The ATF today may find itself facing a foe with weapons every bit as


modern and deadly as its own. Security and peace will need to be


earned in the future, just as they have in the past.


"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with

the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."


-- Thomas Jefferson (1l: 223)





Maneuver warfare and attrition warfare represent alternative


ways of thinking about the nature of war. Attrition warfare, a mutual


casualty-inflicting and absorbing contest where the goal is a


favorable exchange rate, focuses on the successful delivery of fire-


power. It is the protection of fire[power] that allows us to move in


the face of the enemy and it is the destructive force of fire[power]


that adds menace to our movements. (6: 27) Unless the Navy is able to


fight and defeat opposing forces at the beachhead, the ability to


launch deep strikes will be of limited value.


In any discussion of power projection, the fire support


capabilities of aircraft must be considered along with those of naval


guns. Since 1946, naval forces have been called upon in 187 occasions


-- ninety percent of those in Third World countries. Amphibious


forces have participated in 100 incidents; carrier battle groups


(CVBGs) provided sea-based air support to the amphibious task force


(ATF) about 76% of the time. (9: 330) Nevertheless, aircraft suffer


from inherent limitations, such as the lack of an all-weather, day-


night support capability, a significant response time, and a lack of


lethality essential for destruction of hard targets. More


significant, however, is the question of the future availability of


carrier-based (and in some environments, land-based) aircraft to


support forcible entry on a hostile shore. Budget pressures are


expected to reduce the aircraft carrier force level to 12 carriers --


and possibly as few as 10 -- in FY-95. (3: 67) In addition, the


rapidly changing security environment has dictated changes to the


forward deployment of U.S. forces. This will be most noticeable in



Europe where a dramatic reduction in U.S. forward-deployed forces will


occur. Even in Asia, where potential regional aggressors have long


presented a more likely threat to stability than has superpower


competition, some reduction will occur. U.S. forces will face reduced


access to overseas bases as well as unacceptable restrictions on our


operations from those bases. Consequently, aircraft will shoulder


less of the fire support burden in future amphibious operations.


The unique qualifications of naval guns remain essential to


power projection ashore. Even so, the Navy would be hard pressed to


muster the kind of firepower that was available during World War II.


In 1946, the U.S. Navy had 23 battleships, 71 all-gun cruisers (with


6-inch or 8-inch guns), and 372 destroyers. As late as 1968, there


were still some 280 fire support ships, including one battleship and


ten cruisers. However, in the 1970s the Navy decommissioned more than


100 fire support ships.


Today, there are some 143 battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and


frigates with a fire support capability. The following table shows


the characteristics of the primary gun systems carried by existing


U.S. warships:


Naval Gunfire Weapons Capabilities (18: 14)


Gun Maximum Projectile Burst Rate of

Range Weight Radius Fire

(meters) (lbs) (meters) (rapid/sustain)


16-inch/50 38,000 (full) 1,900/ 200 2/1

22,999 (reduced) 2,700


5-inch/54 21,887 (full) 70 45 30/20

(MK 42) 12,200 (reduced)


5-inch/54 21,887 (full) 70 45 20/15

(MK 45) 12,000 (reduced)


5-inch/38 15,900 (full) 55 30 20/15

8,100 (reduced)



Current programs contain no real remedy for what has become a


critical shortage of naval gunfire support. The only significant


improvement will be in reliability' as additional CG-47 class


cruisers (two 5-inch/54 MK 45 guns) and DDG-51 class guided-missile


destroyers (one 5-inch/54 MK 45 gun) join the fleet. They will


replace the remaining DDG-2 class guided-missile destroyers (two


5-inch/54 MK 42 guns) and 40 FF-1052 class frigates (one 5-inch/54 MK


42 gun) as potential fire support platforms. Modern gunfire control


systems (GFCS) like the MK 86 GFCS may give them better accuracy, but


this does not begin to compensate for the reduced number of guns in


the fleet.





. . . it is not the free creation of the mind' of generals of

genius that have revolutionized war but the inventions of

better weapons and changes in the human material, the soldier;

at the very most the part played by generals of genius is

limited to adapting methods of fighting to the new weapons and



-- Enqel


Third World conflicts have become more hazardous to our health.


Sophisticated weapons are eagerly marketed throughout the Third World,


adding to the potential violence of all forms of conflict regardless


of the opponent. Future belligerents are likely to be armor heavy,


rich in long-range artillery, and capable of tenacious defense of


their homeland. (13: 25) They will employ coastal defense weapons and


mines to fix, delay, and destroy the landing force and to create a


deadly no-man's land between the beachhead and the ATF.


The Marine Corps is pursuing alternatives to landing entirely


over the beach so that a foothold can be established ashore without


crippling casualties robbing the assault of its momentum. In the


initial Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Master Plan (MMP),


General A. M. Gray, Commandant of the Marine Corps, addressed


enhancing amphibious forcible entry capabilities through attainment of


a full over-the-horizon (0TH) amphibious assault capability.


.Specifically, Gen Gray said: "The use of new vertical take-off and


landing (VTOL) aircraft, advanced amphibious assault vehicles (AAAV),


and landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) will allow MAGTFs to conduct


amphibious operations from over-the-horizon distances of 26 miles or


more." (15: ES-2) In this manner, "we are able to avoid opposing


strength and attack from an advantageous position of our choosing



toward selected enemy weakness." (6: 59) To preserve the tactical


surprise, it will be necessary for the NSFS ships to remain over the


horizon until the point of attack is revealed.


The MMP recommended that the Navy develop a long-range surface


fire support capability. The principal fire support requirement being


to neutralize enemy artillery and highly mobile, mechanized forces


that may threaten the assault element during the initial phase of the


assault. The goal: provide surface fire support with a 60 nautical


mile (NM) range and the accuracy, responsiveness, and mobility to


counter enemy fire support and to support troops in close contact.


(15: 6-1)


There are a number of possible solutions. Some can provide a


good deal of capability in the short term at a surprisingly affordable


cost, others require a long-term commitment and ample resources. The


common thread is technology; utilizing or adapting off-the-shelf


technology to fill the requirements. The following NSFS improvements


should be pursued:


(1) Near-Term (High pay-off improvements to existing systems).


Although existing gun weapon systems do not provide the range,


accuracy, or lethality mandated by the 0TH concept, cost effective,


near-term programs exist to bridge the gap between the TOMAHAWK,


HARPOON, and aircraft on the one hand and the 5-inch/54 gun on the


other. Synopses on the two 16-inch programs are provided to show that


quantum enhancements in battleship firepower are possible by implemen-


ting the proposed range and lethality improvements. My recommendation


is to retain the USS MISSOURI and the USS WISCONSIN; forward deploy


them to the 6th and 7th Fleet, respectively; and sit back and reap the





(a) 16-Inch/50 Extended Range (ER) Program. The program


was designed to provide a 16--inch ER projectile and a GFCS for the


BB-61 class battleships. The projectile was designed as a 13-inch


subcaliber projectile, saboted to the 16-inch bore diameter and loaded


with either M46 or Sense and Destroy armor (SADARM) submunitions. The


concept was tested by Naval Surface Weapons Center (NSWC), Dahlgren


and several candidate rounds were recommended which extended the


6-inch range capability to 70,000 yards.


(b) 16-Inch/50 Product Improvement Program (PIP). The


16-inch/5O MK 146 improved conventional munition (ICM) projectile was


developed to provide submunition projectile capability for the BB-61


class battleships. The two types of ammunition that showed the most


promise for improving 16-inch gun lethality at extended ranges were


the M42 and M46 submunitions for use against anti-personnel/light


armor targets. An extremely effective area weapon, each of the over


500 M42/M46 submunitions will penetrate over two inches of steel, as


well as throw shrapnel over a wide area. The SADARM submunitions,


under development for the Army, will be dispensed over a target area,


descend by parachute, search the battlefield below them, and fire a


self-forging slug down at detected targets. The SADARM submunitions


will give the 16-inch guns their anti-tank capability. (12: ES)


(c) 5- Inch/54 Semi-Active Laser-Guided Projectile (SAL-GP).


Another improved munition, the 5-inch SAL-GP is a very accurate rocket


fired from a 5-inch gun tube. First shot hit probability was said to


be greater than 82 percent. It was designed to provide a one-shot,


hard point target, e.g., tank or bunker, killing capability. (12: B-1)



(2) Mid-Term. 8-Inch/55 MK 71 Major Caliber Lightweight Gun


(MCLWG). The 8-inch/55 MK 71 MCLWG was designed to provide fire


support out to 40,000 yards and is capable of employing base-bleed


and/or discarding saboted projectiles for much greater ranges. The


gun was operationally tested and evaluated on the USS HULL (DD 945) in


1970 and was approved for service use. The 8-inch/55 MK 71 MCLWG is


an "off-the-shelf" design, although considerable research and develop-


ment will be required to update the design. (12: C-11) The 8-inch/55


MK 71 MCLWG should be installed on all DDG-51 class guided-missile


destroyers during construction. In addition, the forward 5-inch/54 MK


45 gun on the DD-963 class destroyers should be replaced with the


8-inch/55 MK 71 MCLWG during regularly scheduled maintenance




(3) Long-Term (Evolutionary replacement of existing systems).


Don't expect to find a great number of new gun systems being


developed. Instead, look for greater refinements in the range,


accuracy, and lethality of existing gun systems. Also, look for


greater application of land-based systems for use at sea, e.g., the


shipboard variant of the army's Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).


(a) Assault Ballistic Rocket System (ABRS). The army's


Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) is being evaluated for possible


use at sea. Designated the Assault Ballistic Rocket System (ABRS),


the weapon system can blanket an area the size of four football fields


with submunitions to create a killing zone. The baseline 9-inch


rocket carries.. 644 M77 or M46 submunitions, or bomblets, about the


size of a hand grenade. Research is underway to increase the 18.6


mile range to 60 NM using an 18.5-inch rocket and to improve the



warhead to make it suitable for heavy armor and hard targets such as


bunkers. (23)


(b) Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) . The Senate


armed Services Committee, in a mid-July report, authorized $30-million


to "explore adapting . . . the newer, longer-range Army Tactical Missile


System (ATACM) to Navy use to provide fire support to Marines ashore."


The ATACMS is a surface-to-surface missile system with a range of more


than 150 miles. A Block II warhead that would contain 26 infrared


terminally guided submunitions (IRTGSM) is under development.


(c) Reconnaissance (Scouting/Antiscouting) . Indirect fire


weapons will require greater accuracy, which will demand better


reconnaissance and target acquisition capabilities. In Southwest


Asia, the reconnaissance/surveillance and target acquisition mission


was handled by the "Pioneer" unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). 26 out of


40 used were damaged: 6 lost, the remaining 20 repairable. The pay-


load: TV, Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), laser designator, thermal


imager, EW, and still photos. The endurance can vary up to 7+ hours


or approximately 700 miles.





Just as the "amtrac" provided a technological answer to a


crucial tactical requirement that led to a strategic victory, so to


can imaginative, practical solutions make up for the shortfall in


naval surface fire support. (1: 247) The technology is available for


large improvements in the very near future.





1. Bailey, Maj Alfred D., USMC (Ret.). Alligators, Buffaloes, and

Bushmasters. University of Utah, 1976.


2. Barber, James A. "Mahan and Naval Strategy in the Nuclear Age,"

Naval War College Review, March 1972'.


3. Cheney, Dick . Annual Report to the President and the Congress.

Washington, D.C. : Department of Defense, January 1991


4. Concepts and Issues. Washington, D.C. : Headquarters, United

Marine Corps, 1990.


6. Dupuy, R. Ernest. World War II: A Compact History. New York:

Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1969.


6. FMFM 1, Warfighting. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, United

States Marine Corps, March 1989.


7. FMFM 7-2, Naval Gunfire Support. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters,

United States Marine Corps, April 1981.


8. Garden, Timothy. The Technology Trap: Science and the Military.

London: Brassey's Defense Publishers, 1989.


9. George, James L. Problems of Sea Power As We Approach the Twenty-

First Century. Washington, D.C. : American Enterprise Institute

for Public Policy Research, 1978.


10. Heinl, Col Robert D., Jr., USMC (Ret.). "The Gun Gap and How to

Close It," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, September 1966.


11. Hughes, Capt Wayne P., Jr., USN (Ret.). Fleet Tactics.

Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1986.


12. Improved Naval Surface Fire Support System. Dahlgren, Virginia:

Development Option Paper for Naval Surface Weapons Center, 1986.


13. Iraqi Power and U.S. Security in the Middle East. Ft.

Leavenworth: U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies

Institute, February 1990.


14. Lewy, Guenter. America in Vietnam. New York: Oxford University

Press, 1978.


15. Marine Air-Ground Task Force Master Plan. Washington, D.C.

Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, July 1989.


16. Millet, Allan R. and Peter Maslowski. For the Common Defense.

New York: The Free Press, 1984.



17. Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Two-Ocean War. Boston: Little, Brown

and Company, 1963.


18. Naval Gunfire and Supporting Arms Planning Reference Handbook.

Quantico, Virginia: Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

Marine Air-Ground Training and Education Center, January 1991.


19. Naval Gunfire In Amphibious Operations. Quantico, Virginia:

Marine Corps Schools. Marine Corps Educational Center.

Extension School, Apri l 1955.


20. Report of the Task Force on Gun Systems Acquisition. Washington,

D.C.: Department of Defense. Office of the Director of Defense

Research and Engineering, November 1976.


21. Summers, Harry G. , Jr. Vietnam War Almanac. New York: Facts on

File Publications, 1985.


22. Thompson, W. Scott. Power Projection: A Net assessment of U.S.

and Soviet Capabilities. New York: National Strategy

Information Center, Inc., 1978.


23. Truver, Scott C. and Norman Polmar. "Naval Surface Fire Support

and the IOWAs," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1985.


24. United States Code (U.S.C. 1988 ed.) Volume Three. Title 10 --

Armed Forces. January 3, 1989.


26. Weapons of the World Handbook. Quantico, Virginia: Marine Corps

Combat Development Center. Marine Corps University, August 1990.


26. Weller, MajGen Donald M., USMC (Ret.). Gunfire Spport of

Amphibious Operations: Past, Present, and Future. Dahlgren,

Virginia: Naval Surface Weapons Center, October 1977.


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