THE US ARMY’S PROPOSED SUPER-CANNON
Ok, the house-cleaning first: I want to thank everyone for your patience, and for continuing to send articles, this past week in my absence. It is much appreciated.
Ok, with that said, let's dive back in. Judging by the amount of people that sent me some version of this story, I suspect that my well-known fascination with artillery, and particularly artillery systems that "push the envelope", was the reason why. But I also suspect that many of you who passed along some version of this story also were noticing a few "weird" things in the article, and their correspondingly "weird" implications. So with thanks to everyone who saw and shared the story, here's one version of the story:
There are a number of interesting things to note about this:
However, advances in the military-technical field by U.S. rivals like China and Russia—who have each developed advanced hypersonic deterrent weapons—have gripped U.S. war-planners with a feeling of insecurity over the state of the U.S. military’s overstocked arsenals, as well as a nagging sense that U.S. power is on the long-term decline.
With that in mind, the U.S. Army set about developing a brand-new weapon: a powerful cannon that can fire a projectile over a distance of more than 1,150 nautical miles—or the same distance between Nashville, Tennessee and New York City.
The Army hopes that the new cannon can offer an edge on U.S. adversaries who have their own formidable defensive and deterrent capabilities. Rafferty believes that a U.S. strategy imbued with long-range air defense systems and artillery and coastal defense seamlessly integrated with long-range, over-the-horizon radars will be difficult to counter for U.S. foes.
In a recent interview, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told Defense News:
A lot of that comes down to cost.
If we are able to develop the strategic, long-range cannon system, the rounds may be only $400,000 or $500,000 compared to multimillion-dollar rounds. Cost does matter, and we are concerned about cost.
There are some, definitely, physics challenges in doing these types of things, and that is the trade-off.(emphases added)
In other words, the US Army is looking for a "super-cannon" that (1) has a range of around one thousand miles, (2) can be integrated into a strategic posture with other systems for continental defense (and notably, particularly with over the horizon radars), and (3) whose operational cost of building, maintaining, and bombarding, is relatively low; a low-cost artillery projectile, versus a multi-million dollar missile.
But exactly in what role does the Army expect this cannon to function? This is a crucial question, for reasons we'll see in a moment when I flesh out today's high octane speculation. The answer to that question might be implied by the sentence in the above quotation, "The Army hopes that the new cannon can offer an edge on U.S. adversaries who have their own formidable defensive and deterrent capabilities." In other words, this cannon us being envisioned as a kind of penultimate stand-off weapon, capable of offensive strategic bombardment, or alternatively taking out targets - large naval vessels for instance, as the article notes also its integration into coastal defense.
These are all important clues as to what type of weapon we may be looking at. And I don't think we're looking at a conventional artillery piece, with a barrel, propellant, breech, recoil and recuperator cylinders, equilibrators, trunion, cradle, carriage and so on. Indeed, there have been only three such long-range conventional cannon systems, and only one of them was ever operational. These were (1) the Germans' World War One "Paris Gun", with which they shelled Paris (mostly ineffectively, incidentally) from over 70 miles away; (2) the post-war French experiments with a similar gun conducted by the French firm of Schneider-Cruesot, and Canadian-American ballistics expert Dr. Gerald Bull's "super-gun" of the 1980s which he was building for Saddam Hussein, with a reputed range of about 1000 miles, and capable (allegedly) of firing small satellites into orbit. In the case of the German and French efforts, the guns were at least semi-mobile, and could be moved around, but their operational range was nowhere near that suitable for "strategic" purposes. In the case of Dr. Bull's gun, this had to be permanently emplaced on the side of a mountain(!), and was more or less a fixed target. Dr. Bull's gun was never completed, as he was assassinated shortly after returning from Iraq, by whom no one knows, but the conventional wisdom is that the Israeli Mossad took him out. It is worth mentioning, however, that Dr. Bull's thoughts on ballistics were inspired by the Germans' "Paris Gun," and were fleshed out during a long-term research project he was doing for the US army in the 1960s and 1970s called project HARP (not to be confused with the Air Force's ionospheric heater in Alaska, Project HAARP).
But I suspect that here we're looking at something completely different, something that can be used to target accurately and that can be used in both offensive and defensive roles. To achieve that, and to avoid the problems of a very large, but still very conventional type of system such as Dr. Bull was developing for Saddam Hussein's Iraq, a weapon forever wedded to a mountainside, I suspect that if this story be true, then what the US Army might be trying to develop is a very large, but mobile, electromagnetic rail gun. Rail guns are simply weapons that replace the standard barrel of an artillery piece with a "track" or "rail" along which a projectile is propelled to extreme velocities not by chemical propellant but by the force of electromagnets. As such, they could conceivably be used as "rod of God" kinetic weapons based on the ground, and capable of doing enormous strategic damage (Tianjin chemical plant, anyone?), and possibly capable of being used as anti-satellite weapons, coastal defense, you name it. Indeed, during the era of Reagan's "Star wars" strategic defense initiative, a railgun system firing many small bullets like a shot gun was proposed called Brilliant Pebbles. Many in the alternative research field think that some such system is evident on the famous NASA STS 48 space shuttle video, where "something" on the earth's surface appears to be shooting "something" at UFOs visible on the space shuttle's camera system.
The problem with rail guns - which incidentally were first proposed before World War One - is not to much the concept, but the limitations of technology, for they require massive amounts of electrical power. In World War One, that's a problem...
... today, it isn't so much.
That's what I think they're up to... and there's one more disturbing thing that the article mentions. In mentioning the alleged range of the weapon, it indicates that it would have a range from New York City to Nashville (or conversely, Nashville to New York City). They could just as easily have said "Seoul to Beijing" or "Warsaw to Moscow".
But they didn't.
See you on the flip side...
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So, instead of the “Paris Gun”
Should we call it the “Nashville Gun” or the “New York Gun”
yes, make it economical to send many thousands of payloads up into space, via holes (made a priori or post priori) in the incredible shrinking ozone layer. that should be good for everyone and everything.
space elevator (still waiting on that one) should be more gentle.
Could also be talking about ram-jet artillery rounds; some of which can be guided.
Welcome back Doc.
Just posted the below on “Poor Putin” blog. Reading more here put me of a mind of economics (the first means of warfare as per Tony Zinni and most wise generals). Joe Tippens, besides lucking out to find one of many suppressed cures of cancer, is also a good financial manager running companies here and abroad. His experience in his cancer treatment brought forth a comment about that article last year where:
Goldman Sachs asks in biotech research report: ‘Is curing patients a sustainable business model?’
Tippens talked about how his treatment center in Houston is 1 of 53 hospitals on one campus with 110,000 employees treating 8million patients a year – and that is only one city in the US. His hope is that the US govt sees what even a 1% improvement in cancer treatment does to their bottom line. Doubt I need to go over much with our crowd what cancer treatment costs are running these days – and what that’s doing to medicaid and medicare. And the VA.
Wonder how much that cripples the military. And the society.
“Perhaps a more harmonious rabbit hole is coming.
How Joe Tippens Beat Terminal Cancer with $7 Dog Medicine – Interviewed by James Templeton
Been digging fast as I can on this subject since 1/2019 for family. Many different people from many different backgrounds are coalescing into a strong and cohesive unit that clarifies what a genocidal mafia has done to the world for decades while finding many paths out. Best of luck and cognitive skills to us all. We need it.”
Or is this a cover story for a surface to orbit launch system that has been sorely needed for the last half-century. Think Jules Verne from Earth To The Moon to send cargo, satellites, humans safely and regularly into space opening-up the final frontier once and for all.
Flipping the narrative towards a more positive use.
That makes the most sense.
I wonder with this if we will revive the nuclear artillery we developed in the 1950s.
Artillery hot button?
You’d think w/all this high physics in the exotic arena’s of destruction someone would have had an Ah, Ah! moment and breached the gap to a force shield capable of stopping trillion dollar, rather large electromagnetic bullet.
Of course, where will these trillion dollar bullets be most effective.? Which countries? Or, better yet….
Of course, pointing the gun up into those orbiting potential targets is a threat worth considering. They say imitation is great flattery.
I have a feeling a lot of admirers, including the extra territorial states, will be copying, if not already there?
Mankind is definitely saving the planet.
Protecting the planet?
Or, are “they” saving “our” global villages?
Those who live here?
… some monies going for these big guns may end up in…
other Big Gun hands[hidden system of finance?].
Aa the crow flies, Nashville to Manhattan NYC is 888 miles.
1150 nautical miles (a rather odd specification) is 1323 Miles.
There’s 400 mile variance in the measurements .
The measurement in nautical miles raises a question: I did not realize that the army performed their ballistics in nautical miles.
All this open discussion about strategic capabilities is, a priori ,suspect and reeks of disinformation.
Is this intended to stimulate chatter and shake out some trees ?
It would be interesting to see if any of that even shows up in the DOD appropriations.
Is it a case of the Army feeling that they need to assert some relevance in the public opinion vis-a-vis the dominance of the Navy in exotic ability ? Hello, Dr. Pais ….
If it’s a case of message sending, who is the intended recipient ?
I’d seen this and first thing I thought of was the Schwerer Gustav the Germans used to level Stalingrad. Massively oversized, impractical and a huge misallocation of resources–yep, sounds like the Pentagram!
Surely there are easier ways to bombard those Dixie deplorables when the time comes?
The natural benefit of these types of munitions is that they cannot be distracted by things like electronic counter-measures. Possible lessons learned from the Cook, Fitzgerald and McCain…KISS
The river deity Ea has origin in earth, takes a slingshot by waterways, and hits home run in the ocean. That is the aqua-bullet.
Earth and sea is Ea’s source and rest. In Old English, that would be eard (Ea+[o]rd) and ear (Ea+r[ow]). Ea, ear and eard is river, sea and earth.
The question is, what is a Mesopotamian river deity doing in Old English Britain? The fishes’ ear (sea) is ear (of corn), in the Runic riddle.
Apart from that moment of quirky humor – “cost does matter” (who do they think they’re kidding? – this definitely seems to be space-related.
This is an extreme response to the fact that Russia and China have developed conventional artillery that slightly out-ranges the US Army’s best artillery pieces. It is important in real combat with a near-peer, who can simply encamp beyond your range and proceed to shell you with impunity (outside of being bombed).
What is proposed is a dead-on-arrival system which will be huge and expensive, and hence a target for SS-N-30A (3M-14 Kalibr) cruise missiles and such. It will be a hole in the ground before too many expensive rounds will be launched/fired. Small and mobile are keys to survival in the modern battlefield.
I suspect that – after $billions are squandered in this pursuit – the Army will end up with new artillery which will slightly out-range their opposing artillery pieces. Small and mobile…