BAE Systems has received a $26 million contract to equip the U.S. Navy’s Constellation class frigates with the fully-automatic 57mm Mk 110 naval gun. The contract, awarded earlier this month, includes engineering support and calls for two Mk 110s for the USS Constellation (FFG 62) and USS Congress (FFG 63). The new Constellation class of multi-mission guided-missile frigates is designed to operate in blue water and in the littorals, for an increased forward naval presence. This contract also includes providing a Mk 110 system to the U.S. Coast Guard’s third Argus Class Offshore Patrol Cutter, USCGC Ingham. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2023 under the contract with Naval Sea Systems Command Integrated Warfare Systems 3C (NAVSEA IWS).
“The selection of the Mk 110 for the U.S. Navy’s Constellation class frigates signifies confidence in the gun system and its ability to meet current and future needs in shipboard defense,” said Brent Butcher, vice president of the weapon systems product line at BAE Systems “The Mk 110 gun system provides this next-generation frigate with the continued performance that our surface fleet has come to expect from its intermediate caliber guns.”
The Constellation class is a class of multi-mission guided-missile frigates under development for the United States Navy as a follow-on to the modular littoral combat ship. The U.S. Navy announced the FFG(X) frigate project in the United States Department of Defense Request For Information (RFI) on 10 July 2017. The U.S. Navy had selected five shipbuilders to evolve their designs into a prospective design for the proposed twenty FFG(X) guided-missile frigates. On 30 April 2020, it was announced that Fincantieri Marinette Marine had won the contract with its FREMM multipurpose frigate-based design. The project was later renamed FFG-62 program sometime after the lead ship was named.
The Mk 110 gun system, known internationally as the Bofors 57 Mk 3, is the deck gun of choice for the Constellation class. It is a multi-mission, medium-caliber shipboard weapon, effective against air, surface, or ground threats without requiring multiple round types. The system is capable of firing up to 220 rounds per minute at an effective range of more than nine nautical miles using BAE Systems’ six-mode programmable, pre-fragmented, and proximity-fused (3P) ammunition. The 57mm Mk 110 is currently in service on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter. To date, BAE Systems is providing 39 Mk 110 guns to the Navy and 15 to the Coast Guard. Worldwide, 103 Mk 110/57 Mk 3 naval gun systems are under contract with nine nations.