BAE Systems has been selected to supply 12 Bofors 40 Mk4 naval guns to the Belgian and Dutch navies as part of the Mine Counter Measures Vessels (MCMV) programme.

The shipbuilding company Kership will install the guns on the fleet of 12 mine hunting vessels – six for Belgium, six for the Netherlands – with the first ship scheduled for delivery to the Belgian Navy in 2024.

“The Bofors 40 Mk4 is a highly automated naval gun which will provide the Belgian and Dutch navies with significant firepower and great range,” said Lena Gillström, managing director for BAE Systems Bofors in Karlskoga, Sweden.

“This latest contract expands the number of European nations using the Bofors 40 Mk4, and reflects the growing interest we are seeing in the region.”

According to BAE, the system offers “high survivability and tactical freedom at all levels of conflict”, the Bofors 40 Mk4 also provides optimised ammunition types, including the cost-efficient programmable 3P ammunition. The ability to automatically switch between different types of ammunition gives a high level of combat flexibility in the face of new threats such as UAVs.

The Bofors 40 Mk4 naval gun is the latest generation in the 40mm family and is used by numerous navies and coast guards around the world. The system was most recently selected by Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

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is this being done by the swedish subsidiry


It sounds like a really good system, perhaps an upgrade option for the RN River class OPV in the future?


What’s the reason?


The Bofors 40 Mk4 naval gun gives, “significant firepower and great range”? It’s a great little gun system but still a last-ditch light weapon of relatively short range. Speaking about it like it’s a decent medium ship gun stretches the hyperbole too far.


Well in the context of an MCMV I wouldn’t really say the statement is hyperbolic.

David Flandry

I would.

john melling

The RN best pull its finger out and decide what future they see their own concept going!
Belgium and the Netherlands are upping their MCMV game. And their recent videos and design, cooperation in building it up are very impressive

Last edited 2 months ago by john melling

The RN has seen the future and the future is going to be USuV deployed from shore or from a mothership of some description such as a Bay, T31/T32 or even something like a STUFT Oil rig Supply Vessel. The Tupperware Navy’s days are numbered.
Low Mag Sandowns will probably be gone in a handful of years and only a few Non Mag Hunts may be retained.


Netherlands sand Belgium have a combined coastline of @ 320 miles. UK has 7000+. But those countries have ordered 6 dedicated minehunting motherships each. Are we not going to need far more rather than misusing frigates for the task?


Hi Gunbuster, I think you are right to suggest that the current MCMV have had their day and there is definately a role for air portable / frigate compatible systems, but I do think PeterS has a point about tying up a valuable escort or large Bay Class type vessel in MCM operations, especially long term operations such as those on-going in the Gulf. I hope the RN goes for a mixed approach. Have a smallish number of flexible vessels with a large mission bay perhaps along the lines of an enlarged River Class. Such vessels could be used for… Read more »


Hi CR, I kind of agree that we may see a two tier approach for the “at sea” MCM. There will still probably be a dedicated vessel for the role. But it won’t be doing the traditional sweeping. It will basically be a mothership for the unmanned sweepers that tow the search sonar, then launches a system to knock out the mine once found. But I also think that ships with a mission bay will get their own mine search and countermeasures kit. The dedicated option is a must in my opinion. As a dedicated mothership could carry a lot… Read more »

Glass Half Full

The thing is CR we already tie up 4x MCMV in the Gulf … a third of our entire MCM capability … along with 4x crews, plus a Bay and its crew. What if instead of that we, for example, used the Bay directly as a mothership, capable of the equivalent of 2x or more MCMV missions, plus another MCM mission using a shore based unit and another MCM unit from a T31? Add the Gulf escort frigate (T31, T32, or T26) and the total Gulf ship force would be 1x Bay and 2x frigate, with a total of 4x… Read more »

Glass Half Full

One other thing to ponder. Would you rather be in MCM vessel like the Dutch/Belgian ships or a T31 if undertaking a MCM mission off a hostile shore, with the threat of FIAC or shore launched ASM.

John Hampson

It seems to me that Phalanx type systems are being made effectively useless by hypersonic missiles like the Brahmos II and Zircon anti-ship missiles. Some simple calculations. A Zircon is reported to travel at least 2,700 meters per second. Phalanx fires 75 rounds per second, at 1,100 meters / sec, with a max effective firing range of 1500 meters. A Phalanx firing at 75 rounds for a second  results in one round every 14.6 meters. For an incoming vampire travelling in an absolutely direct straight line at the Phalanx barrel that’s fine. So long as the rounds are in flight… Read more »


Italian Navy replaced the dual Breda Bofors with 76mm OTO guided rounds for this reason, The Dutch Navy also choose the 76 OTO with guided rounds but also added RAM missile , this combo replaces the Goalkeeper.
USN does not have Phalanx in the new frigates only a RAM.
It is the end for Phalanx.

John Hampson

The bigger the caliper the better. The more the better.


The issue is that you are not accounting for phalanx self correcting the fall of shot to a zero miss distance and the Mount training to the missiles head on approach. If a missile is inbound phalanx trains to reduce the crossing angle to as near to zero as possible. The Threat evaluation software won’t allow an engagement if the crossing rate is such that a missile does not present a threat of hitting the ship. Zircon has not been proven in the ASM mode. Its hit a static target at sea via GPS and that’s it. Hypersonic introduce serious… Read more »

John Hampson

Self correcting is fine if it works. The soon to be replaced Brahmos, at Mach 3.5, enters the Phalanx max effective range 1.25 seconds from impact. Now assume the self correction is instantaneous the corrected round and the incoming can only meet at 575 meters or 0.48 sec from impact. Even if the 1st corrected round hits the target the vessel is at best hit by the an almost undissapated presure wave followed by an expending coneof shrapnel still travelling at hypersonic speeds. But in the real world the correction is not instant. Allow 0.25 seconds to register a miss,… Read more »


From my own personal experience operating “North of Baghdad”. The US base we were using had C-RAM (land based Phalanx). These were mounted on 20ft high earth mounds to give a better all round view. They were pretty much in daily use. Each C-ram has a siren that activates slightly before the gun fires. The first time it went off, I stood there wondering what the siren was and meant, nobody had mentioned it during the briefings? The next thing the gun slews round, elevates and lets rip. So like a dumbass, I stood and watched – duh! On that… Read more »


“Radar guided anti-ship missiles (ASM) are quite dumb. As GB mentioned above, the forward field of view which is generally a fixed forward facing cone.”

Sorry but that is ridiculous.
It does not make sense to consider that ASMs stood still in 80’s tech and everything else moved to XXI century.


Not so ridiculous. The latest version of Exocet the MM40 Block 3c has a combined inertial navigation system with GPS for over the horizon targeting. At about 12km the radar is activated. The radar uses a flat planar antenna, that can be swept in azimuth by about +/-20 degrees. The “c” stands for coherence. This is a new Exocet radar built by Thales. They say it is a digital radar, but is still an old school pulse-doppler not an AESA. The MBDA blurb for the new Exocet states: “Processing is the ability to differentiate relatively small differences in velocity (which… Read more »

John Hampson

Davyeb. I would not be so stupid to pretend I have any experince of this. ( Although I have been shot at with RPG and AK’s)
The point of my post was to express concern that the people in harms way may not be getting the protection deserved.
I fully acknowledge that there are many with real expertise. But I think I have provided sufficient reason to consider if the continued commitment to Phalanx for ship defence is prudent.


As I mentioned, you must consider the Phalanx as literally the last line of defence. The idea being that it “should” put up a wall of tungsten the incoming threat has to get through. But don’t forget, the ship should have a few more tricks up its sleeve before that happens. Because of the very high volley firing speed of SeaCeptor, a point defence system like RAM becomes less important, especially when SeaCeptor has a ridiculously short minimum engagement range. However, for something like a RFA, which often sail on their own, Phalanx becomes significantly more important as an air… Read more »

John Hampson

In support of my post below I present this quote from the article “Why Russia’s Hypersonic Missiles Can’t Be Seen on Radar.”from “Hypersonic weapons such as Russia’s 3M22 Zircon fly so fast and low — at speeds of up to Mach 6 and at a low atmospheric-ballistic trajectory — that they can penetrate traditional anti-missile defense systems. The missile flies with an advanced fuel that the Russians say gives it a range of up to 1,000 kilometers. And it’s so fast that the air pressure in front of the weapon forms a plasma cloud as it moves, absorbing radio… Read more »