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ASCG enhances Type 23 close-in defence

By Richard Scott

30 October 2007

First at-sea firing trials of the UK Royal Navy's (RN's) new 30 mm Automated Small Calibre Gun (ASCG) system have been successfully completed aboard the Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset.

MSI-Defence Systems was awarded a contract worth more than GBP15 million (USD30.7 million) in August 2005 by the Maritime Gunnery and Missile Systems Integrated Project Team to supply a total of 26 ASCG systems for retrofit to the RN's 13 Type 23 frigates as part of the wider littoral Defensive Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) upgrade programme. The company is supplying a variant of its DS30M Mk 2 system - which integrates an off-mount electro-optical director (EOD) with a fully automated 30 mm gun mount - to meet the ASCG requirement.

Fleet Command and the UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) Directorate Equipment Capability (Above Water Effect) - DEC(AWE) - have identified a significant capability gap in the RN's ability to defend itself against fast attack craft and 'swarming' fast inshore attack craft threats in the littoral. The latter include powerboats, interceptors, rigid inflatables and jet-skis variously equipped with short-range missiles, rockets, rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns or explosives.

Work undertaken to scope the Defensive ASuW programme concluded that the requirement for Type 23 frigates would be best met by an automated 30 mm gun. In parallel the Block 1B version of the Raytheon Phalanx 20 mm close-in weapon system was identified as the preferred option to equip Type 42 Batch 2 and Batch 3 destroyers.

Having previously performed land-based trials at Eskmeals in Cumbria, MSI-Defence Systems delivered the first two mountings in mid-2007 for installation aboard Somerset during August. At-sea installation test-firing trials began in early October on range areas in the English Channel.

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© 2007 Jane's Information Group

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