Babcock International and BAE Systems have been awarded a five year contract extension by the Ministry of Defence to continue in-service support to the Royal Navy’s 4.5 Mk8 Medium Calibre Gun (MCG).

The agreement is worth £43m and will see the continuation of in-service support to the 4.5 MCG across 19 Type 23 Frigates and Type 45 Destroyers as well as HMS Collingwood.

According to a news release from the firm:

“The continued collaboration between Babcock and BAE Systems, the Gun’s designer, offers the capacity, proven capabilities and infrastructure to safely and effectively run in-service support. Babcock has also opted to implement innovative Digital Twin technology to drive an increase in reliability and availability of the weapons system and work to extend its service life. The effort to increase efficiency will also see the roll out of BAE Systems’ design interventions.

The Digital Twin enables digital connection with the asset presenting near real time insight to the materiel state of the Gun. It combines Babcock proprietary data capture technology and data science capability, augmenting Babcock’s engineering pedigree in Naval Gun support. The technology provides the on-board maintainer with the information they need to optimise maintenance and provides Babcock the foresight needed to predict future faults and proactively intervene to keep the asset operational and increase availability.”

 Will Erith, CEO Babcock Marine said:

“The 4.5 MCG is a key weapons system on board the fleet, helping to keep personnel safe during operations. By creating a digital twin to better predict performance and define maintenance requirements, we are delivering real-world use of technology for our customer. It’s an exciting new era for the 4.5 MCG and with our proven track record, expertise and capability on this programme, it means we can effectively maintain asset availability for our customer. We look forward to continuing to deliver a first-class service package, in conjunction with BAE Systems, to the Royal Navy.”

The Mk8 MCG is a modern, semi-automatic variant and can rapidly fire high explosive rounds against land and sea targets with pinpoint accuracy, say Babcock.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
49 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rob
Rob
2 months ago

Umm, so we are getting the 5″ on the T26 but there seems to be no ambition to put it on the other platforms. I would have thought, in the long term, it is going to be cheaper to put the 5″ on all escorts?

pompeyblokeinoxford
pompeyblokeinoxford
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

No too sure what you mean by other escorts. Cant quite understand why the Type 31 isn’t being armed with the 5″, perhaps it political. And regards the Type 45, perhaps the PIP put paid to any such upgrade. That said its a 5 year extension to when? and the T45 OSD is the late ’30s. So, who knows.

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago

Bah, who needs efficiency of training or logistics, afterall, the RN fought WW2 with about a dozen MCGs, 4”, 4.5”, multiple 4.7”, 5” US and UK, 5.5” and different 6”s.

That upstart the USN managed with a 5” and 6”, but what do they know…

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Or indeed to maintain guns on 19 escorts when there are 17 that will exist…..shortly….as the T23’s are phased out…..

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago

But it’s ok we can go to 17 as they all now have a digital twin, so we will still actually have 34 of them.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago

Probably cost: if you add 5” to T31 it breaks the set price per ship.

5” is significantly more expensive (and capable) than the 57mm likely to be fitted.

All that said with the new ‘uparming’ & ‘modernisation’ agenda I’d be surprised if T31 enters service as specc’d.

The T31 lineage is designed to take a 5”.

Stand Off Rocket Man
Stand Off Rocket Man
2 months ago

What exactly is the price for the 5 incher? Why does it cost so much?

Stand Off Rocket Man
Stand Off Rocket Man
2 months ago

I found the below, which suggests if we include ammo, training and parts that one gun would come in at 55 million GBP. So if we got 5 for the Type 31 at about the same cost it would be equivalent to getting another Type 31. “The Government of India has requested to buy up to thirteen (13) MK 45 5 inch/62 caliber (MOD 4) naval guns and three thousand five hundred (3,500) D349 Projectile, 5”/54 MK 92 MOD 1 Ammunition. Also included are other ammunition, spare parts, personnel training and equipment training, publications and technical data, transportation, U.S. Government and… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago

I wonder how the Otobreda 127/64 compares pricewise to the MK45,could it have been a better option ?.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

At a guess the t31 is spec to export. Plus aren’t the 5 inch guns from bae and not babcock.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

For constabulary duties the type 31 armed with 1x57mm gun and 2x 40mm guns plus I hope canister or VL antiship and hopefully land attack missiles. Norwegian anti ship missile or LRASM. Are fit for purpose the 57mm gun due to rate of fire can lay down an impressive weight of steel. Not effective for naval gunfire support but against fast attack craft, helicopters, UAV and light warships upto and including medium frigates it is effective.
The 2 40mm mounts are very effective point defence systems and a useful back up for Sea Ceptor in air defence

Stand Off Rocket Man
Stand Off Rocket Man
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Adding LRASM would really add some firepower to the ship, especially if it can be used as a land attack missile, too.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Do you really need a 57mm or even a 40mm gun for constabulary duties? I would have thought a GPMG and a handful of marines would do the job.

The only thing that the t31 appears to be geared for is Iran and small boat swam attacks, but even then i am not sure you really need all 3 guns.

Maybe defending landing crafts that need to operate close to shore.

Hopefully we will never find out, but it would be interesting to know what the role would be, in the event of an actual war.

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Depends on the constabulary duties, desperate men will need to know they are completely outgunned or they will inevitably be tempted to fight or flight. If your pirate has a couple of RPG and a squad support weapon they may just go for the fight when a few marines backed by a GPMG try to board. I’m sure they would get the job done, But the risk of a harm/death goes up. A big grey boat putting a few 40-57mm shells in front of said pirate boat means it’s less likely someone makes a bad decision. a constabulary vessel needs… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

To be fair if it’s just for constabulary duties a 57mm, couple of 40mm mounts, a pair of ribs and a rotor are more the adequate. That out guns any conceivable piracy, drug or terror threat as well as provides the ability to find, catch and board. if you want an escort for war fighting that different beans. I think the problem is the 31s as they are at present are neither fish nor fowl, the rivers are easy, they are constabulary vessels and no idiot with even half a brain would place them in harms way. The 31s have… Read more »

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

If I was a betting man, I would bet they don’t get upgraded, just like the t45 never got their strike tubes. Unless there is a real marine threat, successive govs will want to confirm fleshly new hardware but not spend the money on making then fully effective.

Frank62
Frank62
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Constabulary duties is just a smokescreen for cuts to RN capability. With such few escorts we don’t have options & any escort needs to be able to stand toe to toe with any enemy escort. If we had 35+ then it might be theoretically possible to keep 2nd rate ships out of harms way, but it’s hogwash to expect T31s to be exempted from full-on duties with so few escort. Especially so when there’s carrier battle groups to be escorted. I think they must a have decent MC gun that hits a lot harder than the 57mm.

Stand Off Rocket Man
Stand Off Rocket Man
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

I got the impression that it is fitted out this way as we will you them in the littoral sphere in the Persian Gulf etc.

James Fennell
James Fennell
2 months ago

T31 will get 57mm and 40mm – already ordered. Naval guns are not really battle winning weapons these days, nor have they been for about 90 years. However dream on.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Respectfully I don’t think anyone is thinking that a surface to surface gunnery engagement is ‘a thing’.

However, NGS and the emerging ASW functions for a main gun are ‘a thing’.

I don’t think 57mm -> 5” is very likely but I do think that other areas of up arming are highly likely.

James Fennell
James Fennell
2 months ago

Yes agreed, although the US FFX are also using 57mm, and the French 76mm. Rapid-fire smaller calibre weapons maybe more useful for the general purpose role, as they are better at countering fast small boats and have utility in CIWS -especially counter-drone and policing roles. They also have a wide range of ammuntion these days. I can imagine small loitering drones and even rail guns giving the 5″ a run for its money in the NGS role longer term.

Frank62
Frank62
2 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

“nor have they been for about 90 years.”

The Falklands war taught us that medium guns were essential for escorts & as a result we stopped designing escorts(or conversions) that had none. It may be 40 years later, but I think we throw away the ability to use cheaper MC shells for both anti-surface & NGS very foolishly. Especially when out army’s artilliary is rather outdated.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago

It appears we will be getting these instead.

BAE Secures Bofors Naval Guns Order For UK Type 31 Frigate Program
“The contract includes five Bofors 57 Mk3 medium caliber guns and 10 Bofors 40 Mk4 small caliber guns. Both close-in weapon systems are designed to protect the ships against modern and future complex threats. The guns also offer the Royal Navy optimized ammunition types, including the cost-efficient programmable Bofors 3P all-target munition.”

https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2020/10/bae-secures-bofors-naval-guns-order-for-uk-type-31-frigate-program/

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Quite

Jan van der Werk
Jan van der Werk
2 months ago

My thoughts would be as T23 is withdrawn, a weapon transfer will take place to newer ships. I understand the Phalanx is already a “hand me down system” installed on the new carriers. Makes financial sense.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

A very useful addition and I’m sure it would give us an overall advantage in certain areas?

Kingfisher
“In 2019 BAE Systems revealed their KINGFISHER concept for a naval gun-launched modular carrier system. Essentially the frigate can use its 5inch/127mm gun to fire an ASW payload that could include small depth charges, sonobuoys, hydrographic sensors or acoustic decoys.”

https://www.navylookout.com/novel-technologies-in-anti-submarine-warfare/

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

That does look interesting. Would prefer an Ikara type system of a homing torpedo delivered to area of submarine by missile. The newest heavyweight torpedoes carried by attack submarines are lethal and out range any ship launched torpedo currently. Hence why delivering ASW via helicopter is a good stand off solution.

Nate m
Nate m
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

meh we are British after all. we must abide by the gentleman’s code of war and show fair play to all our opponents.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nate m
Jonathan
Jonathan
2 months ago
Reply to  Nate m

I’m not sure that’s true at all, small islands with a few 10s millions of population do not end up ruling the largest empire the world has ever known by playing fair. The British have always above everything been pragmatic and done whatever worked best. We may at our best have been able to use enlighten self interest, but you don’t ended up owning a quarter of the globe by being fair. When it worked for us we were utter bastards, when being the voice of reason worked we were good at that as well. The NHS is a perfect… Read more »

Something different
Something different
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

It would’ve been great if the fleet could be standardised on the 5” but sadly know. That said, I understand cost comes into this and the resources could be better used elsewhere.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
2 months ago

The 5inch gun system has to be built into a ships design. It requires significant below deck modifications for ammunition silos, handling and carriage/ storage systems. Once its carousel of 20+ ready rounds are used up its rate of fire does drop vs a 57mm gun with rapid and easy reload. 5inch gun does however have a range advantage. The chinese navy are interesting as they have gone midway between and opted for a knocked off French 1980s and 1990s 100mm naval gun design for most of their frigates and corvettes. These 100mm guns are accurate, relatively long ranged but… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Mk 8 4.5 gun is based loosely on the 105mm Abbot SPG. with a greater calibre.
4.5 is the minimum you need to put lare enough rounds on target at range. Its always a balance between bigger shells, longer range and slower rate of fire Vs Smaller Calibre, shorter range faster rate of fire.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Is this the gun fitted to their Type 55?

“The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) lead Type 055 (Renhai)-class destroyer, Nanchang (pennant number 101), has for the first time joined the escort group for the aircraft carrier Liaoning and, according to Japan’s Ministry of Defense, deployed into the Pacific Ocean east of Taiwan on 3 April.”

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/type-055-destroyer-joins-pla-navy-carrier-group-for-first-time-in-deployment-east-of-taiwan

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

The destroyer being part of a larger task group is I think a more profound ” front page news” item, especially as they sailed between Okinawa and Taiwan, then into the Pacific for a training exercise. The task group included the carrier Laioning plus a Type 052D destroyer, a Type 054A frigate and a Type 901 supply ship. The ships were shadowed by PLAAF Y9 maritime patrol aircraft, along with a pair of H6 bombers. The carrier also carried a number of J15 aircraft. This exercise shows that China are serious at up their game when it comes to Naval… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Yes, I believe we can expect to see a land grab from China before the end of this decade as we witness similar tactics here in Europe by Russia. The US has already stated that it would be impossible to manage wars on both fronts at the same time and intends to concentrate its efforts to deter China from future aggression. Technically, we are more advanced, but numbers count in a shooting war and they clearly have the numbers! “The current head of the command, Adm. Philip Davidson, told a hearing earlier this month that China could be prepared to take… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
2 months ago

Standardisation has many benefits which should recomend it to the bean counters. I’d hope 76mm (OTO) would be the minimum considered & something between 4-6″ ideal. Standardising on the BAE 5″ would be sensible. Unproven new technologies are a risk.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

There is no real point, considering the OSD for Type-23 and Type-45 it is easier to keep the 4.5″ going on them until they retire.

As for Type-31, there is some argument for the 5″ as a nice to have but as others have pointed out it would bust the budget for the programme and there is also a good argument that the 57mm is a good fit for that class in its intended role.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

thanks

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

Concerning the 5″ on the T26 or T31. There was a v interesting slide on Twitter the other day, possibly leaked, on future make up of the 2 LS groups. UKDJ has seen it but no article as yet. Both have an escort in attendance, possibly T31 in time. Considering much of that slide talked of increased firepower planned for FCF you’d have thought for the LSS role the FCF could do with that gun for NGS when they mount their operations inland. Instead it will be on the T26 which will no doubt spend most if it’s time elsewhere.… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
2 months ago

I think Type 32 will be optimised to support the LSGs – although Type 31 might fill in for a year or two its real role is to take up the overseas stations from the B2 OPVs (which will return to UK waters and allow the B1 Rivers to be paid off). So expect the T31s to be stationed at Gib, Singapore, Bahrein and maybe India, with the B2s in UK, Falklands and Carribean while the T26s work with the CSGs and the T32s with the LSGs with littoral roles including AAW, MCM, ASW and NGS.

Last edited 2 months ago by James Fennell
Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

I think that’s a pretty good and accurate prediction of the future purpose and deployment of the new vessels. 👍🏻

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago

Maintenance overview. The RN uses Unit Maintenance Management System (UMMS) a reliability centered maintenance system (RCMS). The days of the old Maintenance Management System (MMS) where you found yourself dismantling equipment , checking it, reassembling it and then making it work again ( Or not making it work, having reassembled it incorrectly or broken a bit off of it!) are long gone. UMMS data is inputted into the onboard data base by maintainers whenever a computer scheduled work item is completed. This database uploads onboard changes back to Abbey Wood (Usually Daily) to allow Abbey Wood to see if equipment… Read more »

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Very interesting. Thanks.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago

While we spend our time delaying in-service dates for our Type 26/31’s, fitted for but not with no doubt?

09 APRIL 2021
Pentagon budget 2022: White House reveals USD715 billion topline request

For example, given the administration’s continued focus on China as the ‘pacing threat’, some top lawmakers have suggested that the navy receive a larger budget next year.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/pentagon-budget-2022-white-house-reveals-usd715-billion-topline-request

Ron5
Ron5
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Nobody is delaying in-service dates for T26/31. Or fitting for but not with. Take your propaganda elsewhere.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Why do you bother posting anywhere Wrong 5?

T”he Public Accounts Committee was recently informed by the Permanent Secretary for Defence that the first Type 31 Frigate will be in the water by 2023 and that the in-service date will be in 2027.

Earlier statements however indicated that the in-service date would be 2023.”

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/type-31-frigate-in-service-date-slips-by-four-years/

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

As for the Type 26, do your homework Wrong 5

“Former first sea lord Admiral Lord West last month told the House of Commons Defence Committee that cutting steel on the new ships on the Clyde had been put back from 2016 because “there’s almost no money available this year, and we are really strapped next year”.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk-news/mod-admits-type-26-frigate-programme-delayed-indefinitely-1471740

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Not sure if this rings a ships bell with you?

A website that your comments are soo popular on I understand!

Three Offshore Patrol Vessels OPV’s were to be built to cover the gap between the end of QE Class construction and commencement of Type 26 work.

There was a great deal of commentary at the time that the Royal Navy did not really want these ‘make work’ ships, directly because of delays in Type 26

https://www.navylookout.com/why-will-the-royal-navy-not-have-its-first-type-26-frigate-operational-until-2027/