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Research To Reality? - 155mm Naval Gun Study Takes A Step Forward


BAE Systems is to build and trial a new 155mm gun to better protect existing and future warships in the Royal Navy fleet, under a £4 million contract awarded by the UK’s Ministry of Defence. The contract follows on from two previous study phases undertaken last year.

Replacing the Royal Navy’s existing 4.5-inch gun with a 155mm system would increase range, and effect on target while streamlining and reducing the cost of logistics by using the same gun and ammunition as the British Army.

Led by CORDA, BAE Systems’ specialist consultancy arm, and the Company’s Land Systems business, the contract will be delivered in conjunction with QinetiQ. BAE Systems is also exploiting the breadth and depth of experience in wider business units such as Armament Systems in the US and Bofors in Sweden to ensure the UK customer benefits from its global experience in naval weapons.

The work is part of the MOD’s science and technology programme that is managed by the MOD’s Defence Technology and Innovation Centre. The 155mm Naval Gun Study is sponsored by the Surface Effects and Self Defence, Capability Planning Group and draws upon the expertise of the wider MoD stakeholder group including DEC(Deep Target Attack), the International Gunnery Missiles and Rockets IPT and the Defence Ordnance Safety Group.

“Our previous work in this area showed real potential for an enhanced gun system on the Navy’s ships,” says Samir Patel, CORDA’s business development director. “This contract will allow more concentrated research and a live, land-based firing trial in 2009 will inform further developments on the programme”.

John Kelly from BAE Systems’ Land Systems, said: “In addition to providing the Royal Navy with a potential low-cost route to a significant enhancement in capability, this programme will help to sustain the UK industrial capacity to design, upgrade and manufacture artillery and gunnery systems in compliance with the Defence Industrial Strategy and Partnering arrangements.”

During previous study phases, valued at over £2 million, CORDA successfully examined the feasibility of fitting the gun and ammunition systems from an AS90 self-propelled howitzer system onto the existing 4.5 inch Mk8 Mod 1 gun mounting structure.

The next step for the programme, subject to a successful trial and MOD requirements, will be a full scale Technology Demonstrator Programme, leading to possible full manufacture and fit to the Future Surface Combatant and possible retrofit to the existing Type 23 and/or Type 45 fleet.

The 155mm gun study is one of eight covered by a three-year Maritime Surface Effects (MSE) research programme, which examines a number of modern naval issues, including offensive and defensive surface warfare, coastal suppression and naval fire support and the role of unmanned surface vehicles.


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