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A Parametric Study of Long Range Artillery Weapons. Or, one-upping the Paris Gun

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This is one of those things you always find when you do diving into DTIC or some other site for unrelated purposes but is still interesting - a 1975 study on extending ranges of  US artillery.






F. J. John Watervlet Arsenal



Introduction (because I can't think up a more original summary)


This report describes a preliminary study of the characteristics of some artillery weapons with ranges in the 30 to 60 KM region. It was intended to determine if such ranges are feasible in weapons that are not excessively large or heavy. Another purpose was to produce an array of alternative weapons from which trade-off and other optimization studies can select the best for further development. The presented data is limited to the gun and ammunition. Although no vehicle characteristics are given, momentum values are provided and from these vehicle sizes may possibly be inferred.


The study was made for two reasons. First, there has been a noticeable change in attitude toward long range weapons. Past analyses have shown little need for ranges greater than those currently available. However, improved modeling and experience gained in recent wars show that there may be a place for longer range weapons after all. So, this study was made to see what these weapons would look like. The second reason was to take advantage of a new, low drag, finned projectile being developed at Picatinny Arsenal. This will provide longer ranges with much smaller increases in velocity, momentum and vehicle weight than those required by conventional projectiles.


The projectile is described in detail in Reference 1. It achieves lower drag through its shape and greater length/diameter ratio. It is nine calibers long and consequently must be fin stabilized. A 130mm version is now being fired to confirm flight predictions and to uncover potential problems. This design is shown in Figure 1; it has a sabot which is necessary for the experimental firings from a 203mm howitzer.



It's one of those interesting reads because it highlights cold war era thinking.  Whether it has merit today or more than historical interest I'll leave up to others.  It does have some really interesting charts though (like the velocity/momentum a artillery round needed for a given range)

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