BAE Systems has been selected by the vessel contractor to provide the German federal police force, Bundespolizei, with three 57mm naval guns for its three new 86m Potsdam class Offshore Patrol Vessels.

The gun systems, known as the Bofors 57 Mk3, will support the maritime arm of the Bundespolizei that monitors the country’s North Sea and Baltic coastlines. The 57 Mk3 is a flexible, highly versatile gun system designed to react quickly for close-to-shore operations.

“The Bofors 57 Mk3 is a versatile naval gun with firepower and range that exceeds expectations when compared with similar, medium calibre naval gun systems. That’s how our 57 millimeter system has earned its reputation as the deck gun of choice for ships operating in coastal environments,” said Ulf Einefors, director of marketing and sales for BAE Systems’ weapons business in a news release.

“This contract expands the number of European nations deploying the 57 Mk3 and reflects the growing interest we’re seeing in the region, where we look forward to supporting new opportunities in the near future.”

The 57 Mk3 naval gun is also in use with the navies and coast guards of eight nations, including Canada, Finland, Mexico, and Sweden, as well as the United States, where it is known as the Mk110 naval gun.

BAE say that this contract also includes accompanying fire control systems as well as systems integration support. Work is expected to begin immediately and will be performed at the BAE Systems facility in Karlskoga, Sweden.

The first unit is scheduled for delivery in 2020.

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Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Perfect fit for the Batch 2 Rivers. Length 90.5m
Effective firing range‎: ‎8,500 m (9,300yds) Maximum firing range‎: ‎17,000 m (19,000 yds)

Fedaykin
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Fedaykin

No it isn’t, the River class has no need for anything beyond a 30mm in its current role.

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

It will be used for SF operations (close in support) and pack a far better punch than what we have currently.
https://www.bairdmaritime.com/work-boat-world/maritime-security-world/naval/ships-naval/thailand-launches-second-krabi-class-opv/

Fedaykin
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Fedaykin

River Class is for use in home waters with the Fisheries Protection patrol and occasional jaunts to the Caribbean so I don’t see where this special forces idea comes from.

Also they lack the suitability features required to get into a close in fight with anything that would require a gun that big.

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

So why are they being used to escort Russian Navy Vessels around our coastline? Yet another reason for a larger calibre gun.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Hi Nigel.

The Russians are not going to start WW3 firing on the FRE.

There is no need for an escort like for like in my view.

The main point is for Russia to be aware that NATO is aware and monitors them.

However, if the RB2 ( not the B1 ) is used further afield akin to the T31 would it need up gunning then?

I’m intrigued by this SF mention? Where did you get that?
I assume you mean the River B2s?

If you want SF support see SD Victoria, or in the future the LSS, if they are ever realised.

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

To make sure the Russian vessels obey the rules of the road in the busiest shipping lane in the world when they transit the channel, make sure they don’t stray where they might get into trouble (sandbars etc) and render assistance if they do face problems. Finally if they start to stray somewhere we don’t want them sniffing to remind them of where our territorial waters start.

Any Russian ship in that scenario will not be looking for a fight and will be more likely be buttoned down and only using navigation radars to avoid giving us lots of useful intel.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Absurd. As I have said before, we should blow a big raspberry at the Russian Navy and escort them through the channel with a tug and fly a flag signal asking “are you in distress is your captain too drunk to steer straight”

Julian
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Julian

Aren’t the Rivers, particularly the batch 2s, massive overkill if all they are to be used for is fisheries protection in home waters? I don’t know enough to know what extra demands/capabilities are needed for “occasional jaunts to the Caribbean” but for instance the high density berths for something like 50 embarked troops and the installation of a CMS station would not seem worthwhile if these are to be their only roles. Also, on the fisheries protection thing, what does a River bring that more cutters couldn’t do? Is that all down to sea keeping capabilities in higher sea states?… Read more »

Pacman27
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Pacman27

Yes

(and a total waste of money)

John Clark
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John Clark

I suppose Pacman, at least the River 2’s have the capacity to be up armed and used for other missions if required down the road. If we talk fantasy fleets (or the minimum actually required) we might usefully use an up gunned River 2 with a 57 mm main gun, Martlet, phalanx , lightweight SAM system etc as a light escort, in the Gulf for instance. Retaining the River 1′ s for general patrol use. I’ve been mulling this over and came to the following surface fleet mix, affordable at 3% GDP on defence and making maximum use of River… Read more »

Pacman27
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Pacman27

You are right John, and they are not awful, I am just very unhappy at how they came about and their overall cost and was further enraged at the build quality as it really was airfix (or at least the glue bit was). It is an example of failure for me on a lot of fronts, and I would sell them as fast as I can even though they have some utility. On the positive side the RN got a new product, the army spent a fortune on FRES and got nothing except a large invoice.. suppose I should lighten… Read more »

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

Pacman, I am with you regarding poor management of the available resources. As said before, a capability is required by the military, it’s then distorted, by running it through a politically acceptable filter ( Political industrial complex) before being ordered. By this point, the delays kick in and the price goes through the roof! The River 2’s were even worse, a classic example of the tail wagging the dog, the RN didn’t even request the bloody things! Our defence budget could buy a lot more equipment if lateral thinking was employed and we gave the armed forces the kit they… Read more »

ANDY REEVES
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ANDY REEVES

one area that has always vexed me is that the u.k. is too snobbish to do what EVERY OTHER NATION DOES and that is buying used ships, take for example there are 6 type 22 frigates in active service around the world most of them designated destroyer. a role if fitted for they could easily operate as. maybe purchasing them and refitting with say, artisan, sea ceptor apart from enhancing the R.N. destroyer number, it would be a bonus in so far as THEY ARE ALREADY BUILT!!! EVONPORT IS FAMILIAR WITH TYPE FOR MAINTENANCE, AND NO DOUBT THERE ARE PILES… Read more »

andy reeves
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andy reeves

my gripe like everything else in all this fantasy fleets stuff is build time, the clyde production rates are poor to say the least and i don’t believe the M.O.D is putting enough emphasis on the fact that the navy needs ships ASAP and not eventually.

andyreeves9
Guest
andyreeves9

26 type26!!! ee gads man, the treasury would go into meltdown

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Re SF- I had seen it mentioned some time ago in an article, presumably as this type of vessel would be a good fit for such a role.

Attached are other peoples views on how the Batch 2 OPV’s could operate, clearly, the Thai Navy has other ideas for their Crabi class.

A combination of the two (larger main gun) would make these a very capable asset rather than what we have at the moment.

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/improving-the-capability-of-a-future-opv-squadron-part-2/

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thank you Nigel.

DJ
Guest
DJ

One area where b2 Rivers could be used that would potentially put them into frontline use is MCM. Mine clearance is moving to UAV’s, something the B2’s should be able to handle. However, operating in contested coastal & littoral areas armed with a non AAW capable 30mm is not ideal. Either 35mm (with AHEAD) or 40mm (with P3) would be a cheap alternative. Airburst also gives some offensive capability against troops & their handheld light anti-armour weapons. With the 30mm you need to be able to see what you are shooting at. Put the 30mm & LMM on the sides.… Read more »

James Harrington
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James Harrington

Well it was designed to do that but spends its time doing far more including escorting massive Russian warships in and out of our own back garden. The OPV will be used for tasks well in excess of its current physical capability and is, as many RN vessels are, very under armed for these tasks.

Rise
Guest
Rise

SF as in sustained fire presumably. Ie. Gun line, fire support

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Yes, I’d misunderstood, thinking the other SF.

Sean
Guest
Sean

The problem is we all know from history that in war ships tend to be assigned tasks that are far beyond the role that they were originally designed for.
And sometimes the enemy simply places them in a scenario they were not envisaged to encounter; which is what a tactically astute enemy aims to do.
Which is why all scenarios should be planned for.

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

Planning for every platform to possibly face any scenario is not only wasteful but a bad way to run a navy.

The RN and MOD have mapped out the Scenarios that they consider the River class will be used, making them into mini frigates is not a good way to spend our resources.

DJ
Guest
DJ

The problem with that argument with the B2 Rivers is there size. If things get serious, they will be utilised, regardless of armament. You don’t need to go overboard, but something like the BAE Bofors 40mm or Leonardo equivalent gives you a basis to start from for a reasonable cost. Not ideal, but not useless. Naval ships (RAN replenishment ship in 1990) have turned up to hotspots before with army MANPAD crews onboard due to lack of organic AAW defences of any sort. Trying to obtain better weapons like a main gun at short notice is not easy, because if… Read more »

Sean
Guest
Sean

Taking reasonable precautions shouldn’t be beyond the purse of the Royal Navy. So the Rivers don’t need the area air defence of of a Type 45, but the point defence of a CIWS such as Phalanx makes sense. Similarly a high-end such as a 5” or 4.5” inch is overkill for the platform, but a 50mm or 76mm would be a more appropriate gun should a River have to face-down other OPVs. As for the Rivers being suitably equipped for the role envisaged… Well battlecruisers were well equipped for their role; more powerful guns to kill cruisers and greater speed… Read more »

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

There is no plan to deploy the River class anywhere that it would need CIWS, it would also up the cost and increase the crew requirement to support it. UK OPV are not intended to face down other OPV where we deploy them, biggest potential threat is a terrorist with an RPG making a 30mm perfectly adequate for its tasking. The Battlecruiser was the result of faulty thinking in the early 20th Century and bares no relevance for the tasking and equipment requirements of UK OPV. Up gunning UK OPV is a wasteful exercise not supported by the evidence of… Read more »

Sean
Guest
Sean

No plan currently… But in a conflict where resources are stretched then they WILL be deployed in new roles. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again.
(As for CWIS, terrorist’s are fielding armed drones now, they’ve graduated beyond RPGs.)

There was nothing wrong with the battlecruiser concept, so long as they were used only for the roles that they were defined for. Deploying them against more heavily armed units in a slugging match was the problem

BTW why does every other navy feel the need to arm their OPV’s more heavily than we arm the Rivers…?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Maybe because in many cases the OPV /Corvette type of vessel is all they have, where’s the RN is a Blue Water Navy?

Sean
Guest
Sean

RN clearly believes it needs to be an ‘all water’ Navy covering both blue water; carrier strike groups, and littoral waters; OPV’s and the recently announced Littoral Strike Ships.

Bloke down the pub
Guest
Bloke down the pub

I’ve seen it reported, sorry can’t recall where, that the Bae 57mm takes up more space below decks than does the Oto Melara 76mm. This is probably why the Thai navy opted for the later on HTMS Krabi which is based on the River opv.

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

hmts krabi, the thai derivative of a batch 2 river has a 76mm oto melara and talk is of a searam on bridge roof!!

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

not sure that’s going to be a useful fit, ballast and weightwise.

Ron
Guest
Ron

God, even the German police have a bigger gun for their patrol vessels than the Royal Navy. Then again I do remember seeing the German police in Bonn when it was still the capital with APCs.

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

What gave you that idea? Neither the German Federal Police or Coast Guard operate vessels with a larger armament that a River class OPV.

Bloke down the pub
Guest
Bloke down the pub

Ermm.. the press release that is the basis for this whole article sort of gives it away.

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

Yeah missed that, they don’t currently have such armament on their vessels.

Considering they are patrolling the Northern Baltic Sea they have better cause for this addition.

The UK doesn’t have any need for it.

David Barry
Guest
David Barry

If the RN are putting P2000 into the Baltic already along with MCMs, do you really believe that B2s won.t find their way into the Baltic? And there you have the perennial problem of the RN, T21 etc were never envisioned as operating in bomb alley, guess what? And sadly they paid the price. The Baltics are a powder keg and it could go kinectic at any time. 2013/14 would have been his best opportunity however today as power slips from him he might feel pushed to go, national unity old chap, and a B2 would fast become fish feed.… Read more »

Ron
Guest
Ron

Let me think, the Royal Navy’s OPV with a 30mm cannon the German Federal Police with a 57 mm

Sean
Guest
Sean

Doesn’t bode well if the Germans go for the hat-trick…

James Fennell
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James Fennell

Hat Trick?, third time lucky you mean?

Sean
Guest
Sean

Well hat-trick with regards to kicking things off..,

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

I hope the elevation & traverse are sufficient to account for the possible list 🙂

HF
Guest
HF

I didn’t think Germany was allowed a national police force in case they were used like the Gestapo. Before unification they had to form the specialist police GSG9 from the border patrol. Obviously changed now.

Ron
Guest
Ron

HF, No German has at least from the late 70s early 80s several diffrent levals to their police force. State police which does what it says only works within a federal state and has limited access to federal buildings, Bundes Polizei(Federal police) which works all over the country and is responsible for national infrastructure such as telecommunications, oil etc and Bundes Grenz Schutz (border police) this was formed back in the 50s which is almost a para military police force.

HF
Guest
HF

Thanks for the clarification.

TBenz
Guest
TBenz

Policing in Germany is a state matter with each state having its own State Police (Landespolizei), who are responsible for most policing tasks. The Federal Police (Bundespolizei) do operate throughout Germany, but in limited and specialist roles, such as protection of federal buildings, borders, airports and rail networks and as back-up to the State Police. The Bundesgrenzschutz (Federal Border Guard) ceased to exist in 2005 when it was re-named the Bundespolizei. GSG9 was part of the Bundesgrenzschutz, but is now within the Bundespolizei.

Julian
Guest
Julian

I’m still trying to learn about a lot of this stuff so I had a look at the Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bofors_57_mm_L/70_naval_artillery_gun).

I had no idea that gunnery had got this sophisticated. The ORKA round sounds amazing. If I’ve understood it correctly a multi-mode seeker in every ORKA round with the ability to download an image of the target to a round before firing to enable that round to do autonomous targeting. Wow; just wow!

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

Leonardo also have the Dart and Volcano ammo for their 76mm and 127mm guns. The Dart is designed for anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence, whilst the Volcano is a guided extended range multi-purpose HE round.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

I am a big fan of the Ott 76mm it really is a great product.

Herodotus
Guest

Yes, with guided ammunition, absolutely outstanding!

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Yes it is great but it is fragile. When it goes wrong and it does from time to time, it usually involves lots and lots of bent lightweight alloys which results in removal of the gun shield and a major rebuild.
I speak from experience having rebuilt one of the HK Patrol craft guns after the feed system loading arms and loading tray got out of sync.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Hopefully its been improved over the years, is there any similar system out there GB, as from a single platform it does offer a lot of capability for a smaller vessel?

andyreeves
Guest
andyreeves

these should be fitted to our silly rivers

Herodotus
Guest

When you consider the Rivers are 2000 ton ships and look at the capabilities of the Italian Comandante class which are 500 tons smaller, it begs a few questions about what the bloody hell they are for. A 2000 ton fisheries protection vessel…some sort of joke surely?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Just looked them up.

362 Million Euro in 2000 money, for 4.

Just looking at Wiki to my layman eyes they look impressive enough, no idea if they have the sort of systems installed in River B2 though, like hardening, combat management systems and the like.

Herodotus
Guest

I posted a link sometime back about the otto mellara gun on the Foscari with guided ammunition. Worth a look at if you didn’t see it last time. It’s a small ship but has real punch from what I think is its only armament. But can carry a NH90 in its telescopic hanger. Amazing what you can do on the cheap!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61YnsQ1v0mw

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Herodotus.

T.S
Guest

For the life of me, I just do not understand the people who so against the Rivers having some form of basic armaments! They are a 2k tonne vessel, the same as ww2 destroyers and yet they are not good enough to play a part? Whilst I would agree uparming them is not the absolute priority with limited funds, but should funds be found then yes, they could play a far more important role than just fisheries protection and be utilised in scenarios just like we are experiencing now near Iran. No one is saying load them with high end… Read more »

Herodotus
Guest

Actually TS most WW2 destroyers barely exceeded 1000 tons. The Rivers are big ships!

Sean
Guest
Sean

They certainly qualify as modern corvettes.

Frank62
Guest
Frank62

For me the minimum useful gun would be the 76mm OTO Melero. It could give NGS as well as sufficient AS, AA & anti-missile at reasonable ranges.

Thomas
Guest

very interesting article. thank you

jeffgunman
Guest
jeffgunman

tf bro
wdym gun big = win? u loserrrr

andy reeves
Guest
andy reeves

how about the fitting of the BAE 57mm gun being fitted to new german patrol ships, onto our rivers, two 30mm oerlikon guns aft of the bridge wings with sea spear(the navalised version of the martlet) on them? punchy flexibly ships, easily forward based at gibraltar, the falklands and bahrain.