May 4, 2005 The U.S. Navy has completed initial testing of Lockheed Martin's Millennium Gun as part of its effort to validate and qualify new naval cannon technology for fleet self protection. The gun's capabilities -- including its high rate of fire and air-bursting Advanced Hit Efficiency And Destruction (AHEAD) ammunition – were recently evaluated during two weeks of testing. The Millennium Gun is a multi-mission, close-in weapon system capable of engaging multiple fast-attack surface craft and near-shore land targets in littoral and riverine waters, as well as defending against anti-ship missiles and aircraft. Creating a "wall of lead," the Millennium Gun fires 35-mm ammunition, including the AHEAD round, at 1,000 rounds per minute. Each AHEAD dispenses 152 subprojectiles that form a cone-shaped pattern to destroy a target's control surfaces, seeker and other vital components as it moves through this lethal cloud.
The U.S. Navy-funded ground testing familiarised Navy personnel on the system and validated the AHEAD lethality at various target ranges. Lockheed Martin supplied the gun system and technical assistance for this testing. The gun system will continue testing and qualifications next year with at-sea tests that will validate the system's capability against multiple targets in various sea states.
"The U.S. Navy recognises that force protection against multiple small craft and unmanned air vehicle threats is an essential mission capability in the modern asymmetric warfare environment," said John Wojnar, director of Business Development for Lockheed Martin's Akron facility. "These test results will prove that the high rate of fire combined with accurately fused airbursting ammunition provides the needed capability for ship self protection. The Millennium Gun is an effective inner-layer defense that extends ship self-protection to ranges greater than any other close-in weapon system."
The Millennium Gun, a naval deck weapon system, delivers inner-layer defense against sea-skimming antiship missiles, antiradiation missiles, and aircraft. It is also effective against fast-attack surface craft and near-shore targets during operations in littoral and riverine waters.
Creating a "wall of lead," the Millennium Gun fires 35-mm ammunition, including the AHEAD round, at 1,000 rounds per minute. Each AHEAD dispenses 152 subprojectiles that form a cone-shaped pattern to destroy a target's control surfaces, seeker and other vital components as it moves through this lethal cloud. The Millennium Gun is equipped with a low-cost, unmanned, remotely controlled gun mount and is compatible with modern and legacy sensor and fire control systems. Designed as a modular system without through-deck penetration, the Millennium Gun can be fitted on a number of ship classes, and is especially well suited for smaller combatant and patrol ships.
Lockheed Martin is the U.S. licensee to Oerlikon Contraves for sale and manufacture of the gun systems. Oerlikon Contraves is part of Rheinmetall DeTec, an established military products company. It specializes in land and naval air defense systems and medium-caliber guns and ammunition. It has delivered over 3,000 gun systems and more than 35 countries now use its products.