What is the longest effective range artillery weapon ever built, regardless of wether it was actually used in combat?

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    For the purposes of this question, what's your definition of "artillery weapon"? Just guns or are you including rockets? – Steve Bird Feb 14 '15 at 23:25
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    The standard definition seems to be 'large-calibre guns used in warfare on land', so no rockets. – Andreas Hartmann Feb 14 '15 at 23:26
  • How about rocket assisted shells? – Schwern Feb 15 '15 at 3:44
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    Please do mention them if they have a lomger range than the ones already named here, however you should add that they are indeed rocket-assisted. – Andreas Hartmann Feb 15 '15 at 7:24

It may be the German V-3, with a maximum range of 165 km. It was destroyed before it could be fired, although several experimental models were used in Luxembourg in 1944-1945. After the war, a U.S.-Canadian group revived the V-3, hoping to use it as a cheap weay to launch objects into space. According to this military history site:

Using a testing facility in the Barbados, the HARP team managed to fire a 400-pound non-explosive projectile out over the Atlantic at a speed of 8000 mph (that’s Mach 10). The missile also reached an altitude of 112 miles (nearly 600,000 feet) – a record for highest-flying artillery shot that still stands.

The Paris Gun, which was used in combat in 1918, only had a range of 130 km, but even then it couldn't hit a target smaller than a city, and (according to the same site):

. . . the gunners actually needed to calculate the earth’s rotation when aiming the weapon. Simply put, by the time one of the gun’s shells returned to earth from its then unprecedented 130,000 foot high flight path, the city had moved slightly with the planet’s own rotation.

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    Artillery gunners needing to calculate the earth’s rotation as part of their aiming is commonplace. See this and that. – andy256 Feb 15 '15 at 4:37
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    Fun fact: V-3 stands for Vergeltungswaffe 3 - Revenge Weapon 3 which is one of the most badass names of any weapon ever. – Andreas Hartmann Feb 15 '15 at 8:04
  • ...but now that GPS guided shells exist... – krb686 Feb 15 '15 at 18:21
  • @krb686: True, though from what I see they are only being used for ranges of around 40 km, though I guess longer ranges could eventually be feasible. – two sheds Feb 15 '15 at 18:29
  • Another interesting aside; the threshold for Low Earth Orbit stands around the 100 mile mark. So perhaps the idea of using it to launch things into space had some merit. However maintaining a stable orbit at that altitude requires a velocity (apex velocity, not muzzle velocity) of closer to 18,000 mph. – aroth May 26 '16 at 15:49

If you don't care if they were actually used in combat, then the German V-3 cannons would certainly seem to be in with a shot (pardon the pun), with a projected range of 165km.

If you're including land-based guns that fired straight up, then Project Harp had a 'range' of 180km.


In 2005 the Advanced Modular Gun Demonstrator test fired 85 miles or 137km and the shells could go 45km high. One article quotes the barrel pressure at 100,000 psi which is absurd. However, it is research equipment, not a practical weapon.

Here is a presentation about it that looks so bad I'd think it were a joke if I didn't know better.

That edges out the Paris Gun, which still holds the title of the longest shots fired in anger despite being nearly 100 years old. It fired a 106 kg shell to a range of 130 km and a maximum altitude of 42 km. It was purely a terror weapon, only having the accuracy to hit a city.

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    I wish they had used Comic Sans. – Andreas Hartmann Feb 15 '15 at 8:07
  • @Schwern Since you refer to it, perhaps you should emphasis that the Paris Gun is probably the longest range artillery piece used in anger? – Conrad Turner Feb 15 '15 at 8:33
  • @AndreasHartmann Be careful what you wish for. – Schwern Feb 15 '15 at 17:13
  • @ConradTurner Done. – Schwern Feb 15 '15 at 17:19

A railgun currently being developed by the US navy is planned to be integrated onto a ship by 2016 (although the reference is from 2010) with an estimated range of 160 km. It's unclear how far the current technology is able to reach given the probable secrecy of the project. The end goal is to eventually reach as far as 370 km.


In addition to the HAARP projects which are well mentioned above which achieved velocities of Mach 10 at an extraordinary altitude of 300,00 feet there is also speculations concerning a "Project Thor" which drops a tungsten rod straight down from outer space...and is perfectly legal actually.

The theoretical power of such a weapon is quite spectacular.

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    This doesn't answer the question as it's not about artillery within the scope defined by the OP. – KillingTime Jun 12 '16 at 7:41
  • Not "perfectly legal". – DevSolar Jan 25 '19 at 13:07
  • @DevSolar: Violating the spirit of a treaty actually is perfectly legal. That is the entire meaning of violating the spirit of. It is only unethical. – Pieter Geerkens Jan 26 '19 at 2:42
  • HARP and HAARP are very different projects. – Mark May 11 '19 at 2:46

See the article about Project Babylon at Wikipedia.org

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    Link only answers are unhelpful, please summarise the relevant parts of your links in your answer. – Semaphore Aug 31 '15 at 11:58

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