Babcock awarded five year contract extension for Royal Navy 4.5 Medium Calibre Gun

HMS St Albans during an intercept and escort of Russian Missile Cruiser The Marshall Ustinov in the Channel. Pictured is HMS St Albans 4.5 inch gun. A Merlin helicopter can be seen in the sky to the right of the ship. HMS St Albans, the sixteenth and last of the Royal Navy's Type 23 frigates to be built, was launched on 6 May 2000. Constructed by BAE Systems at Scotstoun, she was delivered to the Royal Navy in November 2001. The 4.5 inch gun has been the standard Royal Navy ship mounted gun for use against surface and shore targets since the late 1930's. The latest Mark 8 version of the Naval Gun is semi-automatic, has a rate of fire of 25 rounds per minute and a range of 12 nautical miles.

Babcock International, the Aerospace and Defence Company, and BAE Systems, have been awarded a five year contract extension by the Ministry of Defence to continue in-service support to the Royal Navy’s 4.5 Mk8 Medium Calibre Gun (MCG).

The agreement is worth c. £43m and will see the continuation of in-service support to the 4.5 MCG across 19 Type 23 Frigates and Type 45 Destroyers as well as HMS Collingwood. The continued collaboration between Babcock and BAE Systems, the Gun’s designer, offers the capacity, proven capabilities and infrastructure to safely and effectively run in-service support.

Babcock has also opted to implement innovative Digital Twin technology to drive an increase in reliability and availability of the weapons system and work to extend its service life. The effort to increase efficiency will also see the roll out of BAE Systems’ design interventions.

The Digital Twin enables digital connection with the asset presenting near real time insight to the materiel state of the Gun. It combines Babcock proprietary data capture technology and data science capability, augmenting Babcock’s engineering pedigree in Naval Gun support. The technology provides the on-board maintainer with the information they need to optimise maintenance and provides Babcock the foresight needed to predict future faults and proactively intervene to keep the asset operational and increase availability.

Will Erith, CEO Babcock Marine said: “The 4.5 MCG is a key weapons system on board the fleet, helping to keep personnel safe during operations. By creating a digital twin to better predict performance and define maintenance requirements, we are delivering real-world use of technology for our customer. It’s an exciting new era for the 4.5 MCG and with our proven track record, expertise and capability on this programme, it means we can effectively maintain asset availability for our customer.

“We look forward to continuing to deliver a first-class service package, in conjunction with BAE Systems, to the Royal Navy.”

The Mk8 MCG is a modern, semi-automatic variant and can rapidly fire high explosive rounds against land and sea targets with pinpoint accuracy.

Image credit: MOD Crown Copyright