Naval ammunitions are classified as High Explosive shells (HE), HE base fuse shell, Semi Armor piercing or Common/SP Common (American Ships) and Armor Piercing shells.
High explosive shells have large splash radius and high damage. They are effective at all ranges. The downside to HE shells is that they have no penetrating power and explode on the surface of the ship. These HE shells are most suitable for soft targets such as boats and light crafts. HE base fuse shells are similar to HE shells but half the fuse is located at the base enabling them to detonate after slightly penetrating the target. Some HE shells have less explosive than the standard HE shells.
Semi Armor Piercing or Common/SP common shells are considered to have the best mix of penetration and HE material. It explodes further inside the target than HE and HE base fuse shells. However, they do less damage than HE shells and less penetration than Armor Piercing shells. They explode after further penetration of the target based on the fuse delay. Common shells have more explosive power and SP common have more penetration. Armor piercing shells are considered to be the best shells on the ships. The types of AP shells are AP, APC (Armor Piercing Capped) and APCBC (Armor Piercing Capped Ballistic Capped). All these Armor piercing shells are considered to be best against larger armored ships.
The modern 76mm gun ammunition has capabilities such as microwave programmable multifunction fuse and radio frequency guidance system. These capabilities increase the ammunitions’ capability to near the missile level. 127 mm Vulcano ammunitions are both guided and unguided. Guided shells have the capability of IMU and GPS guidance and control actuation system for increased precision. These shells have minimized cost of engagement and can be used in Anti-ship, Anti air and precision shore bombardment.
There are conventional torpedoes such as small to anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes lightweight torpedoes. In recent developments, India tested the SMART (Supersonic Missile Assisted Release Torpedo) It can be launched from ships to strike submarines at long range. The missile is Mach 3 capable and have a 600Km+ range. There is two way data link with the missile and the launcher to share information to and from the torpedo and an air brake to slow the missile to deploy the autonomous torpedo.
There are 30mm medium caliber shells that can be used in both anti-air and anti-ship roles. These ammunitions are suitable against soft targets such as pirate boats and small craft and also against shore structures.
The naval ammunition market will be driven by increasing naval procurement and naval modernization program. The cost effective guided shells are also a cost effective alternative to missiles but are near missile level performance with decreased cost of engagement.