BAE Systems Land & Armaments L.P., Minneapolis, Minnesota, is awarded a $4,665,294 contract to provide all necessary material for the procurement and support of an ordnance alteration to modify the Mk 38 Mod 3 Machine Gun System (MGS). Installed aboard 14 different classes of U.S. Navy ships and U.S. Coast Guard cutters, Mk 38 Mod 3 MGS is used extensively by the U.S. military as well as by NATO forces. This contract combines purchases for the Republic of the Philippines under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work is expected to be completed by May 2023. The U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
The Mk 38 Mod 3 Machine Gun System (MGS) is a low-cost, stabilized self-defense weapon system that dramatically improves ships’ self-defense capabilities in all weather conditions, day or night. A major upgrade to the Mod 3 is the system’s advanced electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor which provides 330-degree surveillance capability and three fields of view. The superior optics allow sailors to monitor the seas and respond to threats even in extremely low light conditions with the benefits of low contrast, low light level color day camera, and an eye-safe laser range finder.
While the EO/IR sensor system is integrated with Mod 3’s state-of-the-art fire control system, the Mk 38 Mod 3 is unique from other naval weapons because its surveillance system moves separately from the gun system, preventing adversaries from easily knowing they have been detected. The Mk 38 Mod 3 also provides a range of 2.5 kilometers and selectable rates of fire from single to 180 rounds per minute, and fires all U.S. Navy-approved 25mm ammunition. It can be remotely operated from the combat information center or other protected ship structures, allowing operators to remain safe and out of harm’s way.
MaxDefense reported that currently the only ship in the Philippine Navy armed with the Mk 38 Mod 2 is the DPCF BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16), which received its MGS in late 2014. The Philippine Navy also has several Mk 38 Mod 1 units, which are not remote-operated systems. The Mk 38 Mod 3 is a newer product, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel, for BAE Systems. Both the Mod 2 and Mod 3 variants are based on Rafael’s Typhoon weapons station and are capable of remote operation from inside the ship. The Mk 38 Mod 3 is being introduced to the Philippine Navy at almost the same time as the US Navy and has significant improvement over the older Mod 2.