Faced with the probable return of international tensions and the risk of high-intensity conflict, the US Army undertook, in 2017, to launch a new super program designated BIG 6, in reference to the BIG 5 super program of the early 70s which gave birth to the Bradley, the Patriot and the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, among other things. Among the critical pillars of BIG 6, is alongside the Futur Vertical Lift program to replace combat helicopters and the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program to replace the Bradleys, the mainstay Long Range Precision Fire, aimed at providing the US Army with new generation artillery. This pillar is itself based on several programs, including the Extended Range Cannon Artillery or ERCA to replace the M109 self-propelled guns, the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon or LRHW to equip long-range tactical artillery with hypersonic missiles, the Mid Range Antiship Missile or MRC to reconstitute an anti-ship coastal battery capacity, the Precision Strike Missile or PrSM to replace Himars-type ballistic systems, and finally, most ambition, the Strategic Long-Range Cannon, a program to design a very long-range cannon capable of hitting targets 1650 km away.
It is precisely this last program of which the death notice has just been announced by the US Army as part of the discussions around the 2023 budget, under pressure from the US Congress. Indeed, according to the American parliamentarians, the technological and operational ambitions of this program are such that it would be necessary to invest colossal sums to overcome it, including by restructuring the units of the US Army themselves to exploit such a capacity. In the current context of tension, while investment emergencies are multiplying across the Atlantic and in Europe, to deal with the many obsolescences not addressed by two decades of defense under-investment, and while tensions continue to grow, in Europe but also in the Pacific. In other words, for Congress, if the SLRC program was indeed an interesting technological gain, it can no longer be supported when more urgent needs need to be addressed.
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