Surface Forces: March 13, 2003


For nearly ten years, the U.S. Navy has been trying to perfect a long range shell for the five inch gun found on all of their destroyers and cruisers. The Mark 171 ERGM (Extended Range Guided Munition) is an oversize shell (61 inches long and 110 pounds, 2.3 times the size of the normal shell) that uses a rocket booster and GPS guidance to hit targets 110 kilometers away. The normal range of five inch shells is about 23 kilometers. But the ERGM has limitations, like a lower rate of fire (10 shells per minute, versus 20 for normal shells) because of the greater heat and stress the ERGM shell puts on the barrel and loading mechanism.) The ERGM shell would carry 72 nine ounce submunitions, similar to those used in army shells and rockets. The gunners can program the shell to disperse the submunitions to fall into circular areas from 20 to 100 meters in diameter. New destroyers are equipped with a five inch gun modified to handle the ERGM, and most existing ships will have their five inch guns modified to handle ERGM. But the new shell was supposed to enter service in 2002. Now it is scheduled for service in 2005. And there's another problem, the people who originally asked for the ERGM, the Marines, are not sure they'll be needing it for fire support. The Marines see themselves doing more missions deeper inland, beyond the 110 kilometer range of the ERGM. Nevertheless, it is an impressive weapon, and testing continues. When problems are encountered, they are fixed and progress has been steady, if behind schedule. South Korea and Denmark have bought five inch guns modified for ERGM use.


Article Archive

Surface Forces : Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close