US Navy Mk110 gun will fire continuously-maneuvering 57mm round

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In a significant development, the U.S. Navy has recently granted a contract to Northrop Grumman Corporation for the progression of their groundbreaking 57mm guided high explosive ammunition.

The setting for this advancement will be the Mk110 Naval Gun Mount and the primary aim will involve rigorous testing as well as gradual refining of the munition to achieve qualification. The unique capability of this 57mm guided high explosive ammunition lies in its ability to maneuver seamlessly and continuously in flight while homing in on its designated target. 

Specifically engineered to staunchly defend against swift surface threats, drones, and clustered threats, the guided 57mm ammunition is equipped with a built-in seeker that effectively tracks down moving targets. Furthermore, it boasts of a fuze with the ability to autonomously determine the ideal mode out of proximity or point-detonation to optimally engage and neutralize the intended target. 

Northrop statement

Commenting on the innovative ammunition, Dave Fine, Vice president of armament systems at Northrop Grumman, remarked, “Our new 57mm guided ammunition stands out due to its distinctive ability to identify, track, and guide itself to a target. This will render the Navy with an enhanced capability to ward off moving threats and heightened accuracy to counter them.” 

As the latest offering from Northrop Grumman’s pioneering ammunition portfolio, the 57mm round makes optimal use of the company’s proficiency in guided munitions, drawing parallels with the Precision Guidance Kit. 

Photo by Lt. Ed Early/Released

Leveraging seekers and an aft-maneuver system, the round ensures a constantly guided trajectory irrespective of how frequently the target might deviate. 

With the advent of this new guided ammunition, the Navy can benefit from an increased stand-off range and a cost-effective countermeasure against small, high-speed threats, all without any necessitated alterations to the weapon system. 

Purpose

The Mk110 gun is a lightweight, automatic cannon primarily used by the United States Navy. It is a versatile weapon system that can be mounted on various naval vessels, including patrol boats, corvettes, and frigates.

The Mk110 gun is designed to provide effective firepower against surface targets, such as small boats, as well as aerial threats like helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs]. Its compact size and advanced technology make it suitable for both close-in defense and long-range engagements.

How does the Mk110 work?

The Mk110 gun operates on the principle of gas-operated, recoil operation. It uses the energy generated by the combustion of propellant gases to cycle the weapon’s action.

When a round is fired, the expanding gases propel the projectile out of the barrel, while simultaneously driving the gun’s bolt rearward. This rearward movement extracts and ejects the spent cartridge case, cocks the firing mechanism, and compresses the recoil spring. As the bolt returns forward, a new round is chambered, and the gun is ready to fire again.

Mk110 tech data

In terms of technical characteristics, the Mk110 gun has a caliber of 57mm [2.24 inches] and a rate of fire of up to 220 rounds per minute. It has a maximum effective range of approximately 12 kilometers [7.5 miles] against surface targets and around 8 kilometers [5 miles] against aerial threats.

The gun is typically equipped with a digital fire control system, which provides accurate targeting and tracking capabilities. It can also be integrated with other sensors and combat systems to enhance situational awareness and engagement capabilities.

Photo credit: Twitter

The Mk110 gun features a dual-feed mechanism, allowing it to switch between two types of ammunition: armor-piercing [AP] rounds and high-explosive [HE] rounds. The AP rounds are designed to penetrate the armor of small boats or light armored vehicles, while the HE rounds are effective against soft targets or for area suppression. The gun’s ammunition capacity varies depending on the specific platform it is installed on, but it typically ranges from 120 to 220 rounds.

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