New 27mm guns with digital architecture for the German frigates

BERLIN ($1=0.97 Euros) — The Dutch company Damen Naval has chosen the latest generation MLG27-4.0 gun to equip the four F146 frigates it is building for Germany. Each ship will be fitted with two of these systems, so the contract includes the delivery of eight of these weapons, plus the option of an additional four if the option to build two more ships is finally exercised.

New 27mm guns with digital architecture for the German frigates
Photo credit: Rheinmetall

The 27mm caliber MLG27 4.0 gun is part of the new SeaSnake RCWS family of products manufactured by the German company Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH, based in the town of Unterlüß in the north of the country, although it has multiple locations. The manufacturer highlights its BK-27M turret gun as the centerpiece of this remote-controlled weapon, noting that the previous model is now used as a secondary armament on the F125 frigates serving the German Navy.

Compared to the previous model, the new-generation MLG27-4.0 system features “a series of technological innovations.” Managers specify that it is a highly advanced naval defense system equipped with daylight cameras, infrared sensors and laser rangefinders and that it can be integrated into an existing shipboard command system, fully taking into account all applicable IT and OT requirements for security. In addition, its new system architecture, fully digital, allows a direct impact on the target’s external coordinates in standard WGS-84 format.

The 27 mm caliber gun can operate in single shot mode, in adjustable bursts, or with a constant rate of fire of up to 1700 rounds per minute. The manufacturer emphasizes “its low weight and its adjustable firing capacity on the measuring scale, together with an integrated simultaneous tracker”. This makes it “a powerful armament for modern frigates, such as the F126 class,” the company says.

F126 frigates

Damen equips German F126 frigates with Rolls Royce generators
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Damen noted in a statement that the F126 frigates will feature a comprehensive and highly effective weapons suite, giving them a critical tactical advantage against multiple threats. For the new MLG27-4.0, Damen Naval CEO Hein van Ameijden explains that its “wide range of capabilities” makes it “the right choice for F126 frigates”. He also predicted that this “successful collaboration on the F126 project could lead to subsequent projects”.

Rheinmetall Waffe Munition General Manager, Roman Köhne, for his part referred to the “new MLG27-4.0 weapon system and in general the entire Sea Snake family”, adding that they “have already proven to be very effective against asymmetric threats”, while showing the company’s satisfaction with “participating in the ambitious F126 program and supporting Damen Naval in the construction of the frigates”.

The first of the four F126s ordered by Germany from Damen in June 2020, which were initially known as the MKS-180 frigates, will be delivered to Hamburg in 2028. The frigates, of which there is an option to acquire two more, have been built entirely in Germany, in shipyards in Wolgast, Kiel, and Hamburg. Along with Damen, the companies Blohm+Voss Shipyards and Thales Netherlands appear as subcontractors.

Damen operates 35 shipyards and 20 other companies in around twenty countries. Damen Shipyards Group currently has a direct workforce of more than 12,000 people.


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