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How are modern naval guns actually operated?

This is a discussion on How are modern naval guns actually operated? within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Wondering how modern naval guns like the Super Rapid or Bofors Mk2 are aimed at targets? Is it done solely ...


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Old August 12th, 2011   #1
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How are modern naval guns actually operated?

Wondering how modern naval guns like the Super Rapid or Bofors Mk2 are aimed at targets? Is it done solely through fire directors or is there an optical device on the mount that enables operators in the CIC to aim the guns at targets?
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Old August 12th, 2011   #2
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Fire directors only. Can include EO or IR optics of course, and in modern designs intended to combat small asymmetric targets usually does (this is a relatively new development, implemented since the mid-90s). Pretty much never mounted on the turret itself though.

A supporting EO gun fire director nowadays often used with the Bofors 57mm Mk3 and the various Bofors 40mm turrets is the Saab EOS-400/-450/-500. Similar systems used with the OTO 76mm guns (and also larger guns) include the various members of the RADAMEC FCS family and newer products such as e.g. BAe Sea Archer, Thales Sting EO and Rheinmetall MSP-500.
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Old August 12th, 2011   #3
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Thanks, I'm very fuzzy on this subject. So am I right in saying that older fire directors do not provide a visual image and instead firing data in the form of symbols on a screen? So this would mean that the gun operators don't have a visual image of the targets they are shooting at? I was under the impression that modern guns have a sight on the turret or gun and that the operator can if needed, aim the gun via a joystick at targets that are near - the Bofors Mk2 57mm has what appears to be an optical sight fitted on the barrel of the gun. Do you know if electro optical sights like the Thales Mirador can be cued to the main gun?

I'm baffled about the MS1 30mm guns on the Royal Malaysian Navy's Lekiu frigates which do not have separate optical sights like the Emerlec and of course no dedicated fire director but can still be fire remotely from the CIC. The Royal Navy's Daring class have an upgraded version of the MS1 which can also be fired remotely.
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Old August 12th, 2011   #4
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So am I right in saying that older fire directors do not provide a visual image andinstead present data in the form of images on a screen?
Plenty of such older systems had TV cameras for the visual image aspect (e.g. the US 1970s Mk86), but these could not be used to track targets or compute fire solutions; they could only be slewed onto a target cued by radar or manually controlled. This is of course primarily deficient against targets with a low radar cross section or in firing against shore targets; such firing tasks would essentially have to be manually controlled and corrected.

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Can electro optical sights like the Thales Mirador be cued to the main gun?
Thales Mirador is specifically advertised for naval gunfire support and splash spotting, i.e. in manual fire correction. The primary purpose of such sights is surveillance; they can typically be cued towards targets in parallel with the main gun, but not much more.

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I'm baffled about the MS1 30mm guns on the Royal Malaysian Navy's Lekiu frigates which do not have separate optical sights like the Emerlec but can still be fire renotely from the CIC.
The Lekius have a single Radamec 2400 mounted on top of the bridge for gunfire direction. The Radamec 2400 is a FCS suite with optronic channel, laser rangefinder, autotracking, fire prediction, weapon control modes for direct and indirect ship-to-shore fire and surveillance mode autoscan. It's controlled from a console in the CIC.

The gun FCS for the Darings is called AMS and essentially consists of two Radamec 2500 FCS systems (on top of the bridge; one port, one starboard). The 2500 essentially adds a IR camera to the above 2400 description. The Darings, additionally to the standard consoles, have a "target designation sights" for each Radamec with which an operator can pretty much manually control the director and the gun. The AMS system is also used for the main gun.
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Old August 13th, 2011   #5
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the Bofors Mk2 57mm has what appears to be an optical sight fitted on the barrel of the gun
That's the coaxial radar for measuring muzzle velocity btw, used to correct FCS fire prediction and properly fuze 3P ammunition for the right intercept point.
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Old February 14th, 2013   #6
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That's the coaxial radar for measuring muzzle velocity btw, used to correct FCS fire prediction and properly fuze 3P ammunition for the right intercept point.
Incorrect. The 3P ammo is only compatible with the Bofors 57mm Mk3 gun, not the Mk2 (unless modified by the host country, not Bofors)....

Eg. The Canadian Halifax Class Mk2's (currently being upgraded to Mk3's) have a MVR (Muzzle Velocity Radar), but it was installed by the Canadians themselves (after they "borrowed" them from the Canadian Army Artillery). The Mk2 MVR just displays the MV via a digital display above the FCO (fire control operator) and he needs to enter it into the STIR manually.
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Old February 15th, 2013   #7
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Not exactly getting what you're trying to get at. As said, the MVR is used to correct FCS fire prediction (by adding the muzzle velocity under current conditions into the calculation); if using 3P ammo in an adapted Mk2, it is additionally used to calculate the proper setting for the 3P time-based IP preset. In the Mk3 the MVR fulfills the same dual purpose.

Bofors itself began offering a compatibility upgrade for 3P in Mk2 around 1994/95 (mostly software adaption, fuze setter and MVR), when the Mk3 was rolled out. To my knowledge no one has bought it. There are no austere Mk2 modifications to fire 3P.
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Old February 15th, 2013   #8
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Not exactly getting what you're trying to get at. As said, the MVR is used to correct FCS fire prediction (by adding the muzzle velocity under current conditions into the calculation); if using 3P ammo in an adapted Mk2, it is additionally used to calculate the proper setting for the 3P time-based IP preset. In the Mk3 the MVR fulfills the same dual purpose.

Bofors itself began offering a compatibility upgrade for 3P in Mk2 around 1994/95 (mostly software adaption, fuze setter and MVR), when the Mk3 was rolled out. To my knowledge no one has bought it. There are no austere Mk2 modifications to fire 3P.
I'm confused I guess. Are you saying a 3P round can be fired from a Mk2? Of course it can, but it simply turns this very expensive programmable round into a cheap proximity fused round. Without the fuse programmer ans associated software upgrades (to not only the Gun Control Computer, but to any weapon interface units and possibly to the Fire control systems as well) the 3P round is pretty pointless.

Of course, once properly programmed, it is a pretty sweet weapon!
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Old February 15th, 2013   #9
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Would it be safe to assume that because there's a glass panel on the Mk1 that there was provision for it to be operated manually? The ship pictured in the centre below [pennant 1503] does not appear to have a fire director so the Mk 1 is probably operated by a chap in the turret itself. On the ship pictured on the far right, can anyone spot a fire director for the MK1 mounted on the stern?

Which brings to mind another question - can a ship with a fire director which is in very close proximity to another ship, use its fire director to 'control' the gun on the other ship?
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Old February 15th, 2013   #10
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Would it be safe to assume that because there's a glass panel on the Mk1 that there was provision for it to be operated manually? The ship pictured in the centre below [pennant 1503] does not appear to have a fire director so the Mk 1 is probably operated by a chap in the turret itself. On the ship pictured on the far right, can anyone spot a fire director for the MK1 mounted on the stern?

Which brings to mind another question - can a ship with a fire director which is in very close proximity to another ship, use its fire director to 'control' the gun on the other ship?
Absolutely....while not the most ideal! (You are literally right beside the barrel and magazines. It was loud, smelly, hot and very very hard to hit anything.....)

In the old Mk1's the turret had a crew of 3 inside......2 loaders and an operator.

Ideally, you would want some sort of gun director system in place if you wanted to hit anything moving!

IMG_0677.JPG

Check out the Control console from the inside! The Funny looking joystick thing, surrounded by the wooden handle (Swedes! Lol) is called the GLU (Gun laying unit). Its basically the joystick for gun movement.

The same (minus the wood, its plastic now) GLU exists for the Mk3's in case of FC failure or if a manual override is desired. One thing to make manual aiming easier is they have added a camera attached to the barrel. Now you can see what you are shooting at from the gun's perspective (unless you need to elevate the gun up a lot!)....

IMG_0688.JPG
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Old February 15th, 2013   #11
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As for your question about "remote controlled" guns, not any of the Bofors Mk1-3 gun can.....I don't know of any "wireless" gun controls......The closest thing would be enagement requests sent over Link. But the actual enagement will still be done locally on the engaging ship. The military typically doesn't like giving someone else control of their ship systems, especially weapon systems.
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Old February 15th, 2013   #12
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Thanks for the info!

Given that the Mk1 first appeared amost 40 years ago, the firing controls looks very 'advanced' wouldn't you agree?
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Old February 15th, 2013   #13
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Thanks for the info!

Given that the Mk1 first appeared amost 40 years ago, the firing controls looks very 'advanced' wouldn't you agree?
I too, was shocked at the level of technology in place in these "old" guns (designed in the 1960's)....but, there is a reason Bofors has been a player for so long in the gun game......
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