DefenseMediaNetwork reports the Mk38 Mod3 offers a number of improvements over the Mod2 currently being fitted to the Webber class, including more ready ammunition on the mount (500 rounds vice 165), a coaxial .50 cal. gun (there was already a plan (pdf) to add a coaxial 7.62mm to the Mod2 version), higher elevation (75 degrees vice 40), better weather protection and serviceability, and the ability to simultaneously track up to three targets. There are also improvements to the search function of the ElectroOptic sensor that should make the system more useful in peacetime roles. They also report that BAE and Israeli manufacturer, Rafael, are considering adding the “Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System” APKWSII guided 70mm rocket system to the mount. In fact Israeli versions of this system already support surface to surface and surface to air missiles.
“The Mk 38 MGS is a low cost, stabilized self-defense weapon system that dramatically improves ships’ self-defense capabilities in all weather conditions, day or night. Installed aboard 14 different classes of U.S. Navy ships and U.S. Coast Guard cutters, it is used extensively by the U.S. military as well as by NATO forces.
“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 a low contrast, low light level color day camera and an eye-safe laser range finder. (emphasis applied–Chuck)
“While the EO/IR sensor system is integrated with the 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.”
I am disappointed that we will not see the additional improvements, but the improvements in the optics that make the system useful as more than a weapon system are certainly welcome.
We still really need a system on our WPBs and WPCs capable of forcibly stopping medium to large merchant ships with an effective range of at least 4000 yards.
Thanks to Luke for bringing this to my attention.
If the planned improvements had been implemented, including the 30mm gun, there would have been little to choose between the Mk38 and the Mk46 30mm gun system being installed on Navy LCSs and LPDs. This maintains a performance difference. Wonder if that is why these improvements were not implemented?
The USN and USCG had better learn: Up-gun or be out-shot by your enemy!
Navy wants to use the Mk38 in a counter UAS role. http://www.janes.com/article/76285/bae-systems-providing-c-uas-prototype-to-usn-for-mk-38-testing
BAE Systems Land & Armaments L.P., Minneapolis, Minnesota, is awarded a $33,266,732 modification under a previously awarded contract (N00174-17-C-0022) to exercise option year one for fiscal 2017 through2020 production of the Mk 38 mod 3 machine gun system (MGS) and associated spares. This contract is to fulfill specified requirements and technical performance requirements for the Mk38 mod 3 25mm MGS ordnance alteration and to provide additional spare parts. The MGS produced is derived from application of an ordnance alteration to the Mk 38 mod 1 25mm MGS. Once installed, the upgraded version incorporates two-axis stabilization, an improved electro-optical sight system, improved multi-function display, modified main control panel, a new main computing unit, a 7.62mm machine gun and remote control operation. Work will be performed in Hafia, Israel (67 percent); and Louisville, Kentucky (33 percent), and is expected to be completed by June 2020. Fiscal 2018 weapons procurement (Navy); and fiscal 2018 weapons procurement (Coast Guard) funding in the amount of $33,266,732 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured, in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1(a)(2) – only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity. https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1564122/
Contract to make more. http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2020/june/8624-bae-systems-to-produce-more-mk-38-mod-3-machine-gun-system-for-us-navy.html
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