57mm ALaMO Round

Nick shared this video in a comment on the previous post about the WPB replacement, but I thought it interesting enough that it deserved a separate post because it might have been missed.

It is very good news for the Bertholf and Argus class NSCs and OPCs. We have been discussing this for the last three years, here, here. and here. Good to see the project coming to fruition in the near future. While LCS deploying to SW Asia will certainly have priority, Cutters should also get at least a few of these rounds to deal with potential terrorist attacks by small boats.

It is still not clear how these rounds are guided, not only in how they change direction as discussed in the video, but also in how they home. Are they active or semi-active? RF or IR? Optical? Can we pick out a place on the target we want to hit? This is a critical question if we are looking at the round to stop larger vessels.

I think the Navy is going to be very sorry they switched from the 57mm to the 30mm as the secondary gun on the DDG-1000 class, especially now that they have no ammunition for the primary 155mm gun. The program manager should have realized the 57mm had much better prospects for development than the 30mm.

My first reaction to the video was that the 57mm might be a suitable replacement for the combination of the 25mm Mk38 and Hellfires, suggested for the WPB replacement, but it is likely that that combination would be cheaper and less maintenance intensive than the 57mm Mk110 and its associated firecontrol system. The Mk110 cost about $8.2M and of course the firecontrol and ammunition outfit adds to this. The Navy pays for these things, and it is small change to them, since it would be spread over several years, but it might make a difference. Certainly the maintenance requirements make a difference to the Coast Guard.

Hellfire is a 100 to 108 pound missile with an 18 to 20 pound warhead. I don’t have details on the weight or bursting charge of the new ALaMO round, but the information on the existing rounds for the 57mm Mk110 indicates a 5.3 to 6.2 pound projectile with a bursting charge of less than one pound. Hellfire still looks like it might work better against larger and medium sized threats if several are available.

8 thoughts on “57mm ALaMO Round

  1. This represents a big advance for the Mk110.

    If there was a 57mm round designed for deep penetration the Mk110 would have all the bases covered. Certainly the technology needed to build such a round is well understood.

    I think leveraging the Mk110 in larger numbers which would lower per unit and ammunition costs is a good idea.

    To my admittedly non-informed view, this makes more sense and is more likely to happen than to have Coast Guard vessels and crew equipped and certified to launch Hellfires.

    The Mk110 is, or has the capability to be, more versatile, less threatening and is already in inventory.

    • The other aspect of the tradeoff between this and the Hellfire + Mk38 combo is that this has greater potential as an anti-air weapon, if we are engaging a more sophisticated enemy.

      • I agree Chuck. The 57mm is the more versatile weapons system.

        As it is or will be used by NSC,OPC,LCS and FFGX there is some good work going into improving its performance.

        If you are going to have essentially one weapons system on board, it’s not a bad one to have due to the versatility.

  2. Pingback: The 87 foot WPB Replacement, an Addendum | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  3. Pingback: Guided Rounds for the 57mm Mk110, ALaMO and MAD-FIRES, an Update | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  4. Pingback: Remember the ALaMO? | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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