You know what’s better than a humungous cannon (155-millimeter gun) that can shoot enemy combatants from 18 miles away? A humongous cannon that can shoot enemy combatants from 43 miles away.
That’s right. 43 miles. Meaning if you were standing in Baltimore, had this brand new Howitzer, you could hit someone or something in Washington, DC — with ease.
Basically, the United States Army is upgrading.
This from We Are The Mighty:
The Army is cooking up a suite of improvements could double the range of the existing M-777 howitzer. Right now the 155-millimeter gun, in service with the Army and Marines, can lob shells at targets up to 18 miles away.
The M-777ER version the Army is working on “will be able to reach out and hit targets … before the targets can reach them,” David Bound, the lead engineer on the project at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, told Army reporters. Troops “won’t have to worry about coming into a situation where they are under fire before they can return fire.”
The modifications add fewer than 1,000 pounds of extra weight onto the older howitzers. The updates include improvements that will help gunners fire more accurately plus a mechanism to automatically load rounds into the gun.
The biggest change is the addition of new barrel that’s six feet longer. The longer M-777ER should be able to hit enemy forces more than 43 miles away. And with more powerful propellant charges and rocket-assisted shells, crews might be able to increase that range even more in the near future.
There are a few roadblocks, with the engineering and perception more than anything, that the Army has to overcome.
For one, the gun is long as hell. Even folded for storage it’s 35 feet in length. Also, it’s very light and could potentially bend or break if the tank goes over terrain that sends the entire vehicle into rollicking shock.
If all does go well with this envisioned improvement, one group of bad guys will feel the brunt of its success. And that would be, of course, ISIS (the Islamic State, IS, ISIL, Daesh, etc.).