LONDON — Weapons engineers at BAE Systems Karlskoga are putting the finishing touches to mounting a lighter, cheaper and smaller version of their 40mm naval gun onboard a Swedish Navy patrol boat ahead of the first sea trials, which are due to get underway next week.
The Bofors Mk4 gun, developed by the weapons arm of BAE’s Global Combat Systems business, is scheduled to undergo sea trials and demonstrations for potential customers starting Oct. 29 on a naval test range just north of Gothenburg.
The Swedish Navy has provided the 35-meter patrol boat and BAE has provided the gun for the weeklong trial.
Denny Petersen, the head of integrated naval systems technical sales at Karlskoga, said that the design parameters to develop a smaller, lighter and cheaper gun without losing any of the performance of the Mk3 variant have been largely exceeded.
“The target was to reduce weight, volume and cost by 40 percent compared with the Mk3. In the case of weight and cost, we actually achieved 50 percent savings, and with volume, we were almost at the 40 percent mark,” he said.
Weight has been reduced from 3.5 tons for the Mk3 to just over 2 tons on the new gun.
Petersen said the savings had been achieved by applying the latest technology components to the design, including replacing the hydraulic directional system with an electronic targeting system.
The reductions will mean the gun can now be fitted on vessels as small as 25 meters, compared with the 40-meter limit of the Mk3.
The current Mk3 is already used by the Brazilian Navy and the Japanese Coast Guard.
Despite the volume reductions, a crew member can still sit inside the turret to fire the weapon manually rather than remotely.
Petersen said BAE was also looking at how it might apply lessons learned developing the lighter 40mm Mk4 to the company’s bigger 57mm naval gun.