New 27 mm guns with digital architecture for German frigates

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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 equipped with two of these systems, so the contract includes the delivery of eight of these weapons, plus the option of four more if the option to build two additional ships is ultimately exercised.

Photo credit: Rheinmetall

The 27 mm MLG27 4.0 caliber 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 several sites. 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 secondary armament on F125 frigates serving the German Navy.

Compared to the previous model, the next-generation MLG27-4.0 system includes “a series of technological innovations.” Officials say it is a highly advanced naval defense system equipped with daylight cameras, infrared sensors and laser rangefinders and can be integrated into an existing shipboard command system, taking full account of all applicable IT and OT security requirements. Moreover, its new system architecture, entirely digital, allows a direct impact on the external coordinates of the target in standard WGS-84 format.

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

F126 frigates

Damen equips German F126 frigates with Rolls Royce generators
Photo credit: DefenceTurk.net

Damen noted in a statement that the F126 frigates will have 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 his “wide range of abilities” the fact “the right choice for F126 frigates”. He also predicted that this “successful collaboration on the F126 project could lead to subsequent projects”.

The managing director of Rheinmetall Waffe Munition, Roman Köhne, spoke about the “new MLG27-4.0 weapon system and in general the whole Sea Snake family”adding that they “have already proven to be very effective against asymmetric threats”while demonstrating the satisfaction of the company “to participate in the ambitious F126 program and to support Damen Naval in the construction of frigates”.

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

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

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