« The customers are looking for extended range. For them range is king because that provides survivability, they can stand off from shore so when BAE Systems was looking for precision guided munitions solutions the first thing we looked at was what’s the effect you have to deliver on target, » John Perri from BAE Systems explained to Naval News. The current range of the Mk 45 naval gun with ballistic ammunition is about 24 km. The Vulcano ammunition can push that out well over three to four times the range out to 90 km.
The Vulcano can engage moving targets both at sea and on land. The baseline round has a GPS guidance but « We can easily fit it with an IR seeker ». For moving land targets, the Vulcano can also be fitted with semi-active laser version, guided though a UAV or a forward observer.
BAE Systems and Leonardo have come together in 2017 to offer a low-risk, precision-guided solution that is more affordable and higher performing than current alternatives. Moreover, the Vulcano is the only round that is compatible with the Mk 45 naval gun. « We’ve demonstrated late last year, » Perri added. The Vulcano gets its maximum range because it is a sub-caliber ammunition, which means that it is slightly smaller than the actual bore diameter of the gun so it features extremely high muzzle velocity and a much lower drag profile. Furthermore, its canards steer the Vulcano like a cruise missile that generate additional lift.
The Vulcano is compatible with the majority of land and naval platforms including 155mm and 5-inch (127mm) gun systems to defeat land and sea threats. The Vulcano family capitalizes on new and emerging technology based on a fin-stabilized airframe with canard control for extended range and terminal guidance, with mechanical interfaces that are the same as standard ammunition.
As the original equipment manufacturer of major gun systems such as the Mk 45 naval gun, BAE Systems is best suited to integrate Vulcano into these weapons. Similarly, the latest adaptations of Vulcano are compatible with the majority of in-service artillery systems including Leonardo’s 127/64 LW and 127/54C naval guns.