The US Army will equip its howitzers with hypersonic shells

Brigadier General Stephen Maranian, in charge of the Long-Range Precision Fires project has announced that the US Army will soon lengthen the barrel of its M777 howitzers to be able to fire hypersonic shells, extending the speed of ammunition beyond Mach 5 and the range from 30 to 40 km. The shells will be compatible with the guidance devices in use in the US Army.

As always, we see the spear and the shield moving together. While the US Army is developing the SHORAD program for short-range protection against aircraft, drones, missiles and artillery shells, it is simultaneously developing hypervelocity munitions which, in fact, will be very difficult to intercept by anti-aircraft systems existing. Indeed, systems capable of intercepting artillery shells or missiles generally have limits concerning the speed of the target below the hypersonic threshold.

In any case, hypersonic or not, we can question the relevance of continuing to use artillery units like the M777, whose range, even extended to 40 km, exposes it to counter-battery fire. , knowing that the Russian or Chinese armies massively use guided rocket systems with a range exceeding 100 km. However, the use of hypersonic ammunition is only justified in a context of high intensity conflict, and therefore a high risk of response and counter-battery.

In fact, this modernization may appear quite surprising. Maybe it’s just about occupying the media space? 

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