ERCA is Dead

Strike one from the scratch build “to do” list.

I’m sure that someone will supply a link.

ERCA Cancelled

Thankis. I haven’t mastered linking from my phone yet.

Defense News said “excessive barrel wear after just a few rounds” and I wonder if that can be remedied with a chrome-lined barrel or some materials engineering fix.

If the barrel wear is the problem, then the barrel can be changed or the shells made smoother by coatings.

I just think that the time, energy, and money spent on ERCA is so close to fruitful success that to give up now really makes one wonder just how close the ERCA is (was) to really being fielded.

That means Crusader SPH (it worked and was canceled), Future Combat System-Cannon (worked and was canceled), and now ERCA (works but with excessive barrel wear = canceled)…that is three 155mm prototype SPHs of the US Army that worked and were canceled. As the US Army said, the 155mm requirement is still there for extended range and now the US Army has tried 40-tons new with autoloader out to 40+ miles (Crusader), FCS 26 tons new for the same range as the M777, and now M109 chassis with a longer barrel (old but sort of new) for around 43 miles and that didn’t work out. Gee…what can be next in terms of a new Army SPH for extended range artillery, I wonder? :thinking:

It lies largely with the munition itself. BAE has developed a long range sabot round that was being used in conjunction with the ERCA.

How about a rail gun? No rifling to wear out… Just need lots of power generation… Still problematic. Guess there is no cheap perfect solution.

Another article:

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Holy crap that is one long a$$ gun barrel!

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Rail life suffers from a variety of factors as well. Coil guns are an option, but even with their problems, rail guns can outperform them. A few months ago I found a coild gun for sale that can shoot bits of steel rod in automatic mode, but the muzzle velocity was pathetically slow. It would be fun to own, but not at the price point they were offering.

This is not the one, but it is similar. I think the one I found had a somewhat higher muzzle velocity.

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Railguns are very good for kinetic energy damage…pinpoint targets where the sabot round penetrates something. Railgun projectiles don’t contain any high explosives (HE) or shrapnel. So against structures, armor, vehicles, and bunkers, railguns are great, but against infantry and bombardment where you want the HE blast effect and lethal shrapnel radius, railguns aren’t great because the sabot projectile is way too small. It’s like the difference between firing sabot tank rounds and HEAT rounds. Against structures and soft targets, HEAT round for HE effects, but against structure targets the APFSDS round will just punch a neat hole and go out the other side of the wall and keep on going until it hits something to stop it.

Is there a reason railgun projectiles can’t have HE or shrapnel warheads?

Is there a reason railgun projectiles can’t have HE or shrapnel warheads?

Energy usage and mass. It’s akin to a bullet being very tiny in mass and the gun being massive in mass to absorb the recoil, but railguns should have no recoil. It takes a lot of power, capacitors, and generators to fire a small railgun projectile at hypervelocity speeds, and hence the sabot is just a dart. Similar to .50cal armor-piercing high explosive incendiary (APHEI) round, the amount of explosive and shrapnel in a .50cal is tiny, but the gun to fire the .50cal is huge to propel it and absorb the recoil. The smaller the railgun projectile, the farther it goes.

US aircraft carriers have electromagnetic catapults, but they also have nuclear reactors with ample amounts of power and space for capacitors and generators (three football fields long, or around 300 yards). An AFV with railgun does not have the space for all that energy, batteries, generators, and capacitors to fire a mass beyond just a dart because if it did fire a larger mass with high explosives and shrapnel casing, it will need to recharge more and thus a slower rate of fire and also less distance; it won’t match the explosive yield and shrapnel of a 5-inch gun.

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I know it’s almost scifi, but I wonder if a hybrid might be the solution: standard gunpowder weapon with an electromagnetic assist? Just noodling; I’m sure the actual scientists have already tried this.

There was this:

Not quite the same but interesting nonetheless.

There was the US Army’s (recently) canceled 1,000-mile (yes, a THOUSAND mile range) cannon…

…so make that FOUR recent US Army artillery SPH systems that have been canceled: FCS-NLOS-Cannon, 40-ton Crusader, 1,000-mile cannon, and M109 ERCA.