Naval Warfare

BAE Systems to Provide Critical Mk 45 Naval Gun Upgrade to Royal Australian Navy Frigates

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BAE Systems to Provide Critical Mk 45 Naval Gun Upgrade to Royal Australian Navy Frigates

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BAE Systems to Provide Critical Mk 45 Naval Gun Upgrade to Royal Australian Navy Frigates
BAE Systems to Provide Critical Mk 45 Naval Gun Upgrade to Royal Australian Navy Frigates

BAE Systems was awarded a contract by the Commonwealth of Australia to upgrade existing Mk 45 Mod 2 naval gun systems on Anzac class frigates with a Common Control System (CCS). The upgrade modifies existing Mk 45 systems to eliminate obsolescence issues and extend the life of the gun system. The CCS upgrade replaces electronics on earlier Mk 45 Mod 1 and Mod 2 gun systems to be compatible with the Mk 45 Mod 4, the latest configuration used by the U.S. Navy. In addition to delivering commonality and interoperability with the U.S. Navy’s gun systems, the upgrade will equip the Mk 45s with the capability to integrate future extended-range precision guided munitions, such as the hypervelocity projectile.

“The Common Control System upgrade is the most cost-effective way to extend the life of Mk 45 gun systems, enabling them to provide critical ship naval fires and creating a configuration that allows for the integration of future precision guided munitions. We are committed to modernizing and equipping allied nations with enhanced Mk 45 gun systems to address current and future threats,” said Brent Butcher, vice president of weapon systems at BAE Systems.

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Royal Australian Navy HMAS Ballarat
Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat. (Photo by RAN)

The Mk 45 lightweight gun is a U.S. naval artillery gun mount consisting of a 5 in (127 mm) L54 Mark 19 gun on the Mark 45 mount. It was designed and built by United Defense, a company later acquired by BAE Systems Land & Armaments, which continued manufacture.The cost-effective CCS upgrade ensures that Mk 45 gun systems remain supportable for decades to come and ready to integrate the latest, most innovative technology features to support advanced munitions and future mission capabilities for a significantly lower cost than a new gun. Work on the contract will take place at the BAE Systems production facility in Louisville, Kentucky with the first delivery planned in early 2026.

Major upgrades of the Mk 45 Mod 4 include a 62-caliber barrel, strengthened gun and mount subsystems, advanced control system enhancement, and a reduced signature, low maintenance gun shield. Operation and performance of extended-range munitions are tailored for optimal effect and range in unison with the major subsystem upgrades of the Mk 45 Mod 4 Naval Gun. The Mk 45 Mod 4 provides NSFS range of more than 20 nautical miles (36 km) with the Navy’s new 5-inch Cargo projectile and an improved propelling charge. Starting with DDG 81, Mk 45 Mod 4 is being forward-fit to U.S. Navy DDG 51 Class destroyers. Other Mod 4 applications include installations for the fleets of South Korea, Japan and Denmark.

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