Northrop Grumman to develop new 57 mm guided ammunition for US Navy

According to a PR published by Northrop Grumman on October 4, 2023, the U.S. Navy has entrusted Northrop Grumman Corporation with a contract to develop their state-of-the-art 57mm guided high explosive ammunition.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of the new ammunition and 57mm MK110 Naval Gun System on BAE Systems booth at Sea Air Space 2015. (Picture source: Navy Recognition)

This new munition is designed specifically for compatibility with the Mk110 Naval Gun Mount. It stands out with its distinct capability to adjust its trajectory mid-flight while zeroing in on its predetermined target.

This advanced 57mm ammunition has been crafted to address rapid surface threats, drones, and clusters of adversaries. It is equipped with an integrated seeker for tracking mobile targets and a versatile fuze that can adapt for either proximity or point-detonation engagement, optimizing its effectiveness against the intended threat.

Building on Northrop Grumman's history of advanced munitions, this 57mm round incorporates elements from their Precision Guidance Kit. It boasts continuous trajectory guidance, remaining unswayed by any abrupt target movements.

This next-gen ammunition promises the Navy increased engagement distance and a cost-efficient solution to counteract agile, high-speed threats, all without necessitating alterations to existing weapon systems.

Mk110 Naval Gun Mount

The MK 110 Naval Gun Mount is a medium-caliber, 57mm weapon, designed for multi-purpose engagements. It has the capability to fire at rates of up to 220 rounds per minute and covers a range of nine miles.

This gun mount plays a significant role in addressing surface, airborne, and shore-based threats during combat operations within a theater area of operation.

Its origins can be traced back to BAE Bofors in Sweden, where it was originally introduced as the 57mm MK3. This model was subsequently selected for inclusion on the United States Coast Guard (USCG) cutters and the Littoral Combat System (LCS) class ships.

With its design catering to multiple threat types, including surface, air, and missile targets, the gun underwent a redesign in 1995 and was later integrated into Sweden's Visby class corvette by 2000.

A salient feature of the gun mount is its 120 round automatic loader drum, which sustains its high rate of fire. Generally, the gun is remotely operated through the fire control system by a single individual, but provisions exist for local control within the gun mount itself. For more intensive operations, an additional crew, comprising a mount captain and two designated ammunition loaders, is positioned below deck.

The MK 110 gun was incorporated into both the LCS and USCG WMSL class ships in 2008. It possesses a range of 17,000 meters or 9.1 nautical miles with conventional ammunition and has a 57mm 70 MK 38 Mod 0 Barrel that extends 3,990 mm in length.

For targeting, the gun relies on the MK 160 Gun Computer System on USCG WMSL class ships and integrates with other gun computer systems aboard the LCS class ships. Each ship within the LCS and USCG WMSL classes is equipped with a single MK 110 gun mount.