US NAVY warships are set for a futuristic upgrade amid fears of a global confrontation after it was announced they will be equipped with high-velocity weapons.
The vessels will reportedly be equipped with “hypervelocity projectiles (HVP)” – weapons capable of firing rounds at speeds as high as 5,600mph (9,012kph) – to be mounted on to its current on-deck 5-inch guns.
A normal bullet travels at speeds around 1,800mph (2896kph).
The high-tech weapon will be able to target drones, submarines, missiles and other long-range targets.
A Navy spokeswoman said it is “leveraging commercial electronics miniaturisation and computational performance increase to develop a common guided projectile for use in current 5 inch guns and future high velocity gun systems”.
The spokeswoman continued: “The HVP effort will seek to increase range and accuracy of the 5-Inch Gun Weapon System in support of multiple mission areas.”
The Future Naval Capability programme, which leads the initiative, plans to carry out a test demonstration next year.
The scheme comes as part of a strategy from the Pentagon of incorporating new weapons systems into existing hardware.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said in 2015 the Navy was working on operations “using flocks of swarming drones for several different missions, adapting our Tomahawk missiles to be used against moving targets in a maritime environment, and using smart projectiles that can be fired from a destroyer’s five-inch gun to defeat incoming missiles”.
The announcement comes after President Trump signed an executive order that could bolster the US defence industry as the threat of a nuclear North Korea looms.
The order asked for recommendations on possible legislative, regulatory and policy changes that would improve and support the defence industry.
And the US government last week passed a bill calling for billions of dollars to be poured into the nation’s missile defence systems amid fears Kim Jong-un could develop nuclear missiles.