More on the New 50mm Chain Gun, and Maybe Counter-UAS

“marauder2048” included a link to this DOD Ordnance Technology Consortium web page in a comment on my earlier post, “Remember the ALaMO,” noting a contract to conduct a “Demonstration Against Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Targets” using the 57mm ALaMO round. But looking through the web site there were some other contract awards that I found interesting, including indications the 50mm program is still progressing. The list includes contracts for both FY 2020 and FY2021.

The following 50mm contracts, totaling $64.39M, were awarded to ATK (Northrop Grumman) in FY2020.

  • Aug. 2020, 1904 INIT 4096 B, 50 x 228mm High Explosive Airburst, Traced (HEAB-T) Munitions, $44.30 M
  • Sept. 2020, project 1904 INIT 4104 B, 50 x 228mm Target Practice Munitions, $20.09 M

The following 50mm contracts were awarded to GD-OTS, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, in FY2021:

  • Oct. 2020, project 1904 INIT 4051 B, 50x228mm Programmable Airburst Ammunition – EMD, $46.42 M
  • Oct. 2020, project 1904 INIT 4052 B, 50x228mm Target Practice Munitions – EMD, $17.62 M
  • March 2021, 1904 INIT 4050, XM1203 50mm x 228 Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Trace (APFSDS-T) Cartridge Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD), $25.20 M

There are some interesting awards in other categories as well. There are these contracts for 30mm systems that do not appear related to the 30mm Mk46 currently in the USN inventory. These sales, late in FY2020, could be for foreign military sales:

Then there is this:

  • Apr. 2020, 101 INIT 0865, Counter Unmanned Aerial System (CUAS) 40mm Proximity Sensor, Electronics Development Corporation (EDC), $4,628,000

This is apparently in reference to the 40mm Mk19 Grenade machine gun, which is, I believe, on the PATFORSWA Webber class WPCs. This could mean it is to be used as a hard kill system against small Unmanned Air Systems, though the Mk19, with its very low muzzle velocity, seems a strange choice for an anti-air weapon.

40 mm Mark 19 on USS Hopper DDG-70 in September 2006. Note the 25 mm Mark 38 in the background. U.S. Navy Photograph 060906-N-9851B-002.

3 thoughts on “More on the New 50mm Chain Gun, and Maybe Counter-UAS

  1. Chuck, I found this:

    Over the last two years, Rep. Norman has promoted MSI-DS with the U.S. Department of Defense, and petitioned for the United States Navy’s research of their MK113 30mm Naval Gun and Electro-Optical Sight Systems.

    The U.S. Navy has a number of vessels that are typically not armed, such as supply or research ships. When those ships must traverse hostile waters, they usually must be escorted by armed naval vessels, often at great expense, and occasionally diverting those assets away from other missions.

    The two (2) contracts that have been awarded by the DoD to MSI-DS are valued at $17.84 million, and will help the U.S. Navy determine to what extent arming previously unarmed ships will help them safely traverse more hostile regions without needing armed escorts. If successful, this endeavor could ultimately enable the U.S. Navy to better fulfill its missions throughout the world while saving a significant amount of money.

    • I also feel it is a mistake not to have armed essential auxiliary vessels, not just against small boats and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps harassments, but also against other threats they might encounter. I can remember when these would have been commissioned ships with substantial AAW capabilities and regular Navy crews.

      The Royal Navy arms their MSC like ships with the MSI-DS if I remember correctly, and they have a regular Navy detachment aboard to man the weapons. If the US Navy was interested in that level of protection, I would think they would use the 25 mm Mk38 mod3 which can be upgraded to 30mm if caliber were the issue.

      • Agreed. I’ve always believed that our auxiliaries are under-armed. Every naval auxiliary needs at least 1 Phalanx and 1SeaRAM, plus 2 of the aforementioned Mk38 Mod3s, with other crew-served weapons.

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