BAE Systems has been awarded a $33.6 million contract to develop a next generation High Velocity Projectile (HVP) for the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the company said yesterday.

BAE will develop the High Velocity Projectile for ONR. 

The HVP program will create a guided munition compatible with the Navy’s Electromagnetic Railgun and other 5-inch and 155-mm gun systems. ONR conceived HVP as a way to reduce lifecycle costs and provide a projectile configurable to current and future gun systems, according to its website. 

The HVP’s low drag, compact design should eliminate the need for a rocket motor to extend gun range. It is intended to reduce time to target and provide greater maneuverability, allowing it to be useful for both long-range and close missions. 

“The HVP takes the next evolutionary step in providing an affordable, precise, multi-mission capability for multiple gun platforms,” Chris Hughes, BAE vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems, said in a statement.

The company said it will build on its 5-inch Multi-Service Standard Guided Projectile (MS-SGP) and its work with Lockheed Martin [LMT] on the 155mm Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRAP). Similar to the HVP concept, the MS-SGP is compatible with 1,000 fielded M777 and M109 howitzers in the Army and Marine Corps as well as 200 deployed Mk 45 naval guns, the company said on its website. LRAP will be the main projectile on the planned Zumwalt-class DDG 100 destroyers. 

The award marks the beginning of the design phase, which will be completed by June 2014. BAE will work with United Technologies Corp. [UTX] and Custom Analytical Engineering Systems