Bulgarian corvettes to get 76-mm Melara and 27-mm Mauser guns

VARNA, ($1=1.74 Bulgarian Levas) – The MTG Dolphin shipyard in Varna, Bulgaria, and the management of the German defense corporation NVL Group held a steel cutting ceremony for the first of two MMPV patrol corvettes to be commissioned by the Bulgarian Navy. This was learned by BulgarianMilitary.com. citing a press release from NVL Group.

Bulgarian corvettes to get 76-mm Melara and 27-mm Mauser guns
Photo credit: NVL Group

Bulgaria and Germany signed a contract in March 2020 for the construction of these two corvettes worth $ 463 million.

The actual start of construction came almost two years after the contract was signed. It is known that the future patrol ships under the MMPV project will have a hull length of 90 meters and a water replacement of 2300 tons. Both ships must be delivered to the Bulgarian Navy in 2025-2026.

Even two consecutive years since the conclusion of the construction contract, there is no exact data on what weapons the corvettes under the MMPV project will have.

It is known that the German contractors plan to install 76-mm OTO Melara artillery and 27-mm Mauser MLG27 artillery on the future Bulgarian corvettes. Among the missile weapons, according to some sources, the installation of anti-aircraft missile systems RIM-116 with a range of up to 10 kilometers on Bulgarian corvettes under the MMPV project, as well as anti-ship missiles RBS 15 with a range of up to 185 kilometers.

It is obvious that the ships under the German project MMPV have to replace the two corvettes under the Soviet project 12412 “Lightning-2” – the ships “Resolute” and “Bodri”, which were delivered in 1989-1991.

It is worth recalling that in the late 2000s Bulgaria had much more ambitious plans to buy corvettes for its fleet – the Bulgarians wanted to buy four corvettes for their fleet under the French project Gowind-2500. But financial problems have prevented such a plan from being implemented.

About 76-mm OTO Melara gun

The OTO Melara 76 mm gun is a naval gun built and designed by the Italian defence company Oto Melara. It is based on the Oto Melara 76/62C and evolved toward 76/62 SR and 76/62 Strales.

Bulgarian corvettes to get 76-mm Melara and 27-mm Mauser guns
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The system is compact enough to be installed on relatively small warships. Its high rate of fire and the availability of several types of ammunition make it capable for short-range anti-missile point defence, anti-aircraft, anti-surface, and ground support. Ammunition includes armour-piercing, incendiary, directed fragmentation effects, and a guided round marketed as capable of destroying manoeuvring anti-ship missiles. It can be installed in a stealth cupola.

The OTO Melara 76 mm has been widely exported, and is in use by sixty navies. It was favoured over the French 100mm naval gun for the joint French/Italian Horizon-class frigate project and FREMM frigate.

On 27 September 2006 Iran announced it had started mass production of a naval gun named the Fajr-27, which is a reverse-engineered Oto Melara 76 mm gun.

About 27-mm MLG 27 automatic naval gun

Bulgarian corvettes to get 76-mm Melara and 27-mm Mauser guns
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Rheinmetall developed remote controlled naval versions, the MN 27 GS and the MLG 27 fully automatic naval guns, which are installed on many ships of the German Navy. Ninety-nine MLG 27s have been ordered by the German Navy so far. The cannon is a single-barrel, high performance, breech-cylinder gun operated by a fully automatic electrically fired gas-operated system at a selective rate of 1000 or 1700 rounds per minute(+/− 100 rpm). The Mauser BK 27 utilizes pyrotechnic cocking charges to cycle the action.


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