BAE Systems to upgrade shipboard machine guns with electro-optical sensors and laser range finders

BY John Keller

INDIAN HEAD, Md.-The U.S. Navy is asking the BAE Systems Land and Armament segment in Louisville, Ky., to upgrade as many as 150 MK 38 shipboard, 25-millimeter machine guns with remote-control capability, two-axis stabilization, day/night electro-optical sensors, and an eye-safe laser range finder. BAE will provide as many as 150 MK 38 Mod 2 machine gun system ordnance alteration (ORDALT) kits under a $33.9 million contract. The kits have two-axis stabilization with remote control capability, and an on-mount day/night electro-optical suite with eye-safe laser range finder.

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The Navy's standard 25-millimeter shipboard cannon, shown above, will receive automation and electro-optical targeting capability.

The day/night electro-optical suite features the Toplite III electro-optical fire-control system, with as many as four sensors for passive and active detection and recognition of targets at sea, on land, and in the air. It uses a 640-by-480-pixel array thermal imager, a CCD low-light TV camera, eye-safe laser range finder, and optional night-vision imaging system and laser target illuminator.

The Mk 38 Mod 2 machine gun system-a joint project of BAE Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. in Haifa, Israel-is for shipboard defense against small, agile surface threats. The Mk 38 Mod 2 main weapon is the M242 Bushmaster 25-mm Chain Gun with a range of 1.5 miles and rates of fire as fast as 180 rounds per minute. The weapon can be remotely operated from the combat information center or in other protected ship structures.

Contract work should be finished by March 2012. Officials of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Md., awarded the contract.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit www.baesystems.com, www.rafael.co.il, and www.navsea.navy.mil/nswc/indianhead.

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