It’s easy to think that the era of naval gunfire is long past, but that isn’t the case. With new shells, larger guns, and the soon-to-be-operational electromagnetic rail gun, a renaissance in naval gunfire is underway. Even without these advancements, existing U.S. surface combatants still pack a decent gunpowder-derived punch.
The rare video below showcases what a simultaneous release of all of a Ticonderoga-class cruiser’s gun batteries looks and sounds like. The booms you hear are the ship’s (in this case you’re looking at the USS Vicksburg) two five-inch deck guns. The rackety fire is from its 25mm chain guns and .50 caliber machine guns. The buzz-saw like roar is from the ship’s Mark 15 Phalanx close-in weapons system (CIWS). When combined in one chaotic volley, the sound is downright terrifying.
The exciting stuff begins when the Vicksburg sounds its horn at around the two minute mark:
Here is a shorter edited version of the video posted on YouTube, although the sound quality is not a good:
Although the live-fire display that the Vicksburg put on is very impressive, it pales in comparison to the firing of the 16-inch guns aboard America’s retired Iowa class Battleships. But what is missing from the Vicksburg demonstration is the firing of itsprimary armament, the 126 individual vertical launch system cells and the mix of Standard, Evolved Sea Sparrow and Tomahawk missiles, not to mention rocket-assisted torpedoes, that are housed inside those cells. There’s also the ship’s eight RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles stored in individual launch tubes located on the cruiser’s stern.
These weren’t part of the demonstration seen in the video, likely due to massive volumes of tightly controlled airspace required for such practice launches, and these missiles cost between hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars a pop.
But if the gunfire demonstration above could be combined with even just a couple salvos of missiles rising from the Vicksburg’s deck, it would result in a truly incredible – if not unprecedented – display of naval firepower.
You can see what a launch of multiple missiles at once looks like from a U.S. Navy cruiser or destroyer in the video below.
Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.