The US Navy has spent billions of dollars each year to develop futuristic ship weaponry that remain stuck in research and development. Meanwhile, it desperately needs simple systems like a big rocket launcher. The MK-16 launcher (pictured) was used to fire ASROC and Harpoon missiles from Navy cruisers and destroyers. It was retired several years ago, but this design provides an aiming system for firing powerful rockets at nearby targets. The only needed improvement is a stabilization system. The Harpoon carried a 488lb high explosive warhead. A cheap "NAVROC" wouldn't need as much range or a guidance system, so would cost far less and could carry a larger warhead for these four missions:
1. Hip Shoot - A naval engagement may begin as an ambush by a civilian boat or cargo ship, or from a tiny island. The 5-inch gun can begin firing 70lb projectiles, but unleashing a barrage of eight huge rockets with 600lb warheads should instantly destroy the threat. Ships would arm and aim NAVROC at anything suspicious to allow an instant, overwhelming response.
2. Small boats - Exercises have shown that ships have difficulty with small boat swarms. They bounce up and down and may disappear from sight and radar as they ride ocean swells. They are very difficult to hit and can launch an anti-ship or anti-tank missile beyond the range of CIWS. Firing a 420mm NAVROC with a 600lb warhead at a small boat would literally "blow it out of the water" just by exploding within 50 meters.
3. Flak - Drones and missiles are a major threat, especially if they attack in swarms. A rocket with a proximity fuze or timed to explode in front of an incoming missile should knock it down if within 100 meters, while the debris confuses guidance systems of other missiles.
4. Shore bombardment - Navy destroyers haven't much firepower to blast targets ashore, just a 5-inch gun. If an enemy lacks anti-ship missile systems, the ship can approach shore so NAVROC can blast targets.
Sailors would love this simple, reliable, low-tech system that provides instant firepower at nearby threats.
Carlton Meyer editorG2mil@Gmail.com