Artillery is a staple on the modern battlefield. With its awesome destructive power and long range, it is a fantastic support tool for the grunt on the ground. Adding in laser guidance on projectiles, the sheer variety of ordnance types, and general accuracy, I’ve known a grunt or two who would rather have artillery support than the sometimes spotty air cover.
But, artillery has its own costs. With the huge heat generated by firing, artillery barrels are not known to last very long (even compared to good modern rifle barrels). According to UPI, it would seem the US Army and Marine Corps are upgrading their new artillery barrels with the modern rifle barrel chroming process, which UPI stated:
The Marines began testing the chrome tubes in 2016, finding they were easier to clean than steel tubes and that thousands of rounds could be fired before they started to show wear.
According to the Army, the new barrels result in nearly 50% additional increase in usable life for the artillery tubes. Current barrels do not have a chrome bore. I, personally, find this shocking considering the huge benefits of chrome and nitride in rifle barrels. It took this long for the Army to use technology from almost 100 years ago?
The new artillery barrels are for the M777A1 towed system, the Army and Marine Corp’s “lightweight” towed systems. Current orders for the barrels have them priced north of $130,000 a unit, with two 100 barrel orders in from the Army and Marine Corps.