The Royal Navy Discussions and Updates

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member

The original DefenseNews article seems to be gone, but the above site quotes from that original article where the DDG-1000 program manager defended the switch from the 57 mm Bofors to the 30 mm Mk46 because their real-world evaluations found the 57 mm Bofor's lethality to be significantly overstated. This was from 2014. Has this been refuted since then? I'd have to think so since the US Navy itself required the 57 mm Bofors be fitted on the just selected FFG(X) and the RN has the 57 mm Bofors on the upcoming Type 31. There also doesn't seem to be reports of complaints from other 57 mm Bofors operators. If the original US Navy testing was based on the 57 mm Bofors on the LCS, maybe it's just an LCS related issue since for example I believe the 57 mm Bofors is not integrated into the radar or CMS on the LCS and just uses independent EO fire control.

I remember the quote at the time and while I don't have any hard evidence to bring to the table, I can't for the life of me see how a 57mm round *wouldn't* be more lethal than a 30mm round - the difference in payload is pretty significant and as you say, there are two initiatives underway to provide cheap (or at least, more affordable) guided rounds for the 57mm,

The 57mm looks to be a pretty useful addition to the RN and frankly, I'd be sticking a few more on various hulls if budget permitted.

Something at the back of my mind tells me the RN already committed to one of the two guided rounds and has budgeted for this already - I'll see if I can find the article.

My suspicion on the DDG switch is they just had a top weight issue and wanted to shed a few kg's.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Lovely to see QE moving out - I had the pleasure of a tour of the PoW a few weeks back and they're impressive ships.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
I dont understand why the RN didn't order the BAe 4,5" Mk.8 gun. Its actually sad in my opinion that after the Type 45 destroyers, we dont see anymore this 100% British naval gun on newer ships.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I dont understand why the RN didn't order the BAe 4,5" Mk.8 gun. Its actually sad in my opinion that after the Type 45 destroyers, we dont see anymore this 100% British naval gun on newer ships.
Probably because it's an orphan gun and calibre now. Most navies have gone to the 5 in / 127 mm round.
 

Systems Adict

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I dont understand why the RN didn't order the BAe 4,5" Mk.8 gun. Its actually sad in my opinion that after the Type 45 destroyers, we dont see anymore this 100% British naval gun on newer ships.

ALL 4.5 Inch guns owned / operated by the RN are now AT LEAST 60 years old !

Just let that sink in for a moment...

The guns have all been installed on various ships & have been systematically updated to convert them from the old hydraulic drive / operating system, to electric & then to a fully digital set-up. In that time period older ships sold onto other navies were systematically sold with their guns, reducing the number they had available. This issue became apparent during the run up to Type 45 build, as the training centre gun that had been land based since it was introduced to the RN training school in 1961, had to be ripped out, refurbished & eventually ended on HMS DUNCAN (IIRC).

Further back in the archives on this site. I'm sure there is a whole series of discussions around the upgrading of 4.5 to 5 inch, for use with Type 26 (by reworking the guns from Type 23's), with BAE actually proving the mount could be reworked to achieve this. However, costs / Rate of Fire & numerous other issues that are not within the public domain, made decisions by the UK Govt 'easier'.

Type 31 is a 'new build/design' & the design being offered by the suppliers as part of the contract, was to make the ship 'simple' & not overcomplicate things. Notwithstanding the fact that Babcock/BMT have a 'design portfolio' of variants of the hull form that can take pretty much any medium calibre gun from 57mm to 5 Inch.

SA
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
ALL 4.5 Inch guns owned / operated by the RN are now AT LEAST 60 years old !

Just let that sink in for a moment...

The guns have all been installed on various ships & have been systematically updated to convert them from the old hydraulic drive / operating system, to electric & then to a fully digital set-up. In that time period older ships sold onto other navies were systematically sold with their guns, reducing the number they had available. This issue became apparent during the run up to Type 45 build, as the training centre gun that had been land based since it was introduced to the RN training school in 1961, had to be ripped out, refurbished & eventually ended on HMS DUNCAN (IIRC).

Further back in the archives on this site. I'm sure there is a whole series of discussions around the upgrading of 4.5 to 5 inch, for use with Type 26 (by reworking the guns from Type 23's), with BAE actually proving the mount could be reworked to achieve this. However, costs / Rate of Fire & numerous other issues that are not within the public domain, made decisions by the UK Govt 'easier'.

Type 31 is a 'new build/design' & the design being offered by the suppliers as part of the contract, was to make the ship 'simple' & not overcomplicate things. Notwithstanding the fact that Babcock/BMT have a 'design portfolio' of variants of the hull form that can take pretty much any medium calibre gun from 57mm to 5 Inch.

SA
Thank you for sharing, i had absolutely not any idea that the 4,5" Mk.8 guns are out of production for the last 6 decades, i really thought that these things are new produced guns up to the ones installed on the Type 45.
Well, then its a logic choice to choose or the Bofors 57 mm Mk.3 or the United Defence 5"/62, made by companies which are now part of BAe.
 

FOAC

New Member
Yes, what's the evidence for all 4.5 mounts being 60 years old?

The first mount went to sea c1971 on HMS Bristol. I'm no maths genius but I make that 49 years.

As far as I am aware, the T23 were equipped mostly / totally with new build mounts. They were being built until 2000

But the point still stands that this is an orphan mount and calibre.

Nevertheless can't help RN costs that until the last T45 retires c 2045 the RN will operate 3 different medium mounts and calibres
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes, what's the evidence for all 4.5 mounts being 60 years old?

The first mount went to sea c1971 on HMS Bristol. I'm no maths genius but I make that 49 years.

As far as I am aware, the T23 were equipped mostly / totally with new build mounts. They were being built until 2000

But the point still stands that this is an orphan mount and calibre.

Nevertheless can't help RN costs that until the last T45 retires c 2045 the RN will operate 3 different medium mounts and calibres
Unless they take the Type 45s and convert them - probably to the 57mm mount - which I think would be an excellent idea.

If you were really after quick and dirty - I believe there's an option without deck penetration available - it's only got 120 rounds local but for plinking bog hammers or as a point defence option with 4P rounds, might do the trick ?
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Probably because it's an orphan gun and calibre now. Most navies have gone to the 5 in / 127 mm round.

And probably fairer to ask why the RN hadn't moved to the 127mm earlier. There was a conversion for the Mk8 to a six inch calibre under development but once that was cancelled, everything else should have been fitted with the 127mm mount I think.
 

FOAC

New Member
Unless they take the Type 45s and convert them - probably to the 57mm mount - which I think would be an excellent idea.

If you were really after quick and dirty - I believe there's an option without deck penetration available - it's only got 120 rounds local but for plinking bog hammers or as a point defence option with 4P rounds, might do the trick ?
If there was the money I'd go for that too.
Might justify itself as T23 goes and there's only the 6 secondhand 4.5 mounts to maintain
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
In the early 60s when the Mark 8 was being developed the RN was heavily invested in 4.5 inch. The US gun of the day, the Mark 42 5inch/54 was a gun with similar capabilities as the Mark 8 as was the Otto Malera with, additionally, a reputation for having a reliability problem. There was no compelling reason to change and one, a need for another supply chain, not to. By the time the Mark 45 appeared the RN had fielded large numbers of Mark 8s and again there was no reason to change. If the RN had continued to develop 4.5s And produce new versions that caliber would still be a perfectly valid choice; but they didn’t. If that seems unlikely, take a look at the history of the French 100mm.

The Mark 8 was not a refurbished Mark 5/6; it was a new design of a different calibre; 55 v 45
 

swerve

Super Moderator
And probably fairer to ask why the RN hadn't moved to the 127mm earlier. There was a conversion for the Mk8 to a six inch calibre under development but once that was cancelled, everything else should have been fitted with the 127mm mount I think.
Wasn't it a conversion to 155mm, so not exactly 6"? IIRC ammunition handling was an issue.

If the RN had continued to develop 4.5s And produce new versions that caliber would still be a perfectly valid choice; but they didn’t. If that seems unlikely, take a look at the history of the French 100mm.
And the Swedish 120mm, I think.

It's also about ammunition. Producing ammunition for a handful of guns is expensive per round, & developing new shells becomes rather hard to justify if there are only a few guns.
 

Systems Adict

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Yes, what's the evidence for all 4.5 mounts being 60 years old?

The first mount went to sea c1971 on HMS Bristol. I'm no maths genius but I make that 49 years.

As far as I am aware, the T23 were equipped mostly / totally with new build mounts. They were being built until 2000

But the point still stands that this is an orphan mount and calibre.

Nevertheless can't help RN costs that until the last T45 retires c 2045 the RN will operate 3 different medium mounts and calibres

Appreciate that the 'reality' of in-service dates of 1973 on HMS Bristol implying that the guns are only 47 years old, the reality of many things used by the RN (such as the saluting guns used for ceremonial purposes - as many have a casting date embedded in the breeches from the 1930's !), is that the 'mend & make do' attitude of British engineering in the 1960's was to 'develop' equipment, utilising parts that were lying around.

It is my understanding that while the Mk8 was a 'new' gun it inevitably led on from & used some items from the Mk6.

4.5-inch Mark 8 naval gun - Wikipedia

QF 4.5-inch Mk I – V naval gun - Wikipedia

All of that said, I don't dispute the 'orphan' handle associated with the gun / calibre.

SA
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
If there was the money I'd go for that too.
Might justify itself as T23 goes and there's only the 6 secondhand 4.5 mounts to maintain

That's what I'm thinking - Type 31 comes into service just as the support burden for the mk8 falls solely on the T45''s - I'd say there's an argument to spend money to save a bit of money. And the 57mm is way better for bog hammer plinking and some other threats like pop up helicopters etc.



I doubt it'd happen but if the money did become available, it'd be a neat upgrade for the 45's plus mk8 would be out of service completely, eliminating the spares and training chains for that weapon.

It's kinda sensible but there's a ton of other things in the "to-do" list as well unfortunately.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Wasn't it a conversion to 155mm, so not exactly 6"? IIRC ammunition handling was an issue.


And the Swedish 120mm, I think.

It's also about ammunition. Producing ammunition for a handful of guns is expensive per round, & developing new shells becomes rather hard to justify if there are only a few guns.

It was - two part ammo for the 155mmm canons on the AS-90's - using a double stroke loading cycle which lowered the rate of fire by exactly half for reasons I'm sure are clear :)


Part of the reasoning behind choosing the 155mm round was, just as you say, to get away from the cost and limitations of small batches of ammunition for a bespoke calibre. I seem to recall that other overseas customers for second-hand type 23's have done away with the mk 8 for a smaller calibre weapon, in a manner similar to that I've suggested for the type 45's.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Appreciate that the 'reality' of in-service dates of 1973 on HMS Bristol implying that the guns are only 47 years old, the reality of many things used by the RN (such as the saluting guns used for ceremonial purposes - as many have a casting date embedded in the breeches from the 1930's !), is that the 'mend & make do' attitude of British engineering in the 1960's was to 'develop' equipment, utilising parts that were lying around.

It is my understanding that while the Mk8 was a 'new' gun it inevitably led on from & used some items from the Mk6.

4.5-inch Mark 8 naval gun - Wikipedia

QF 4.5-inch Mk I – V naval gun - Wikipedia

All of that said, I don't dispute the 'orphan' handle associated with the gun / calibre.

SA

You're not kidding -one of the saluting guns for Prince of Wales had to come off Belfast with special permission from the museum.

Seems a bit odd as there should be loads lying around given the change in size of the fleet but I'm guessing most of them went, with their ship, to the scrappers.
 

Systems Adict

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
You're not kidding -one of the saluting guns for Prince of Wales had to come off Belfast with special permission from the museum.

Seems a bit odd as there should be loads lying around given the change in size of the fleet but I'm guessing most of them went, with their ship, to the scrappers.
The less fun part for the fleet is the up issue on the qty of 3lb ammo they have to carry, as it INCREASES every 5 years, due to ceremonial requirements, like the Queen's Birthday salute...

They have also 'proved' useful in the Gulf to scare away pirates. Could always stick some 'grapeshot' in the end of the barrel, but I'm sure the lawyers would be all over that....

SA
 
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