BAE Systems has been contracted by the UK Royal Navy to produce and deliver Bofors 40 Mk4 and Bofors 57 Mk3 naval guns for the multibillion-dollar Type 31 general purpose frigate program.
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The agreement, through a contract with Babcock International, will supply the Royal Navy with a set of advanced, multi-purpose gun systems for its fleet of five ships, with the first ship expected to go into service in 2027.
The contract includes five Bofors 57 Mk3 medium calibre guns and 10 Bofors 40 Mk4 small calibre guns – both close-in weapon systems are designed to protect the ships against modern and future complex threats, the guns also offer the Royal Navy optimised ammunition types, including the cost-efficient programmable Bofors 3P all-target munition.
Lena Gillström, managing director for BAE Systems Bofors, said, "We will be providing the most cutting-edge gun system technology available, which can adapt to different levels of conflict, including peacekeeping missions, local coastguard operations, and military operations. This contract increases the number of European nations deploying our advanced, flexible weapon systems."
BAE Systems’ scope of work for the Type 31 program also includes services, tools, spares, documentation and support. Both naval gun systems will be manufactured at BAE Systems’ facility in Karlskoga, Sweden, with deliveries expected to take place in 2023 and 2024.
The Bofors 57 Mk3 naval gun is installed on various ship types around the world and is in use with the allied navies and coast guards of eight nations, including Canada, Finland, Germany, and Sweden, as well as the US, where it is known as the Mk110 naval gun.
BAE Systems has built and delivered more than 100 Bofors 57 Mk3 naval guns to customers around the world. The Bofors 40 Mk4 naval gun is the latest generation in the 40mm family, and with this contract, the Royal Navy will become its fifth operator.
BAE Systems' 57mm Mk110 (internationally known as the Bofors' 57Mk3) provides high survivability and tactical freedom at all levels of conflict. The 57mm Mk110 has this flexibility, which is proven by the fact that it is the deck gun of choice for the US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter and offshore patrol cutter classes of ships, as well as for the US Navy’s LCS ships.
The low weight and compact Bofors 40 Mk4 gun system with its high rate of fire and ability to switch between optimised ammunition types – including the intelligent 40mm 3P all-target ammunition – provides high survivability and tactical freedom at all levels of conflict.
The UK government has committed to buying at least five of these cutting-edge vessels designed by Babcock for the Royal Navy as part of a £1.25 billion contract, with more expected to be exported to governments around the world. The first British Type 31 ship will be in the water by 2023.
Britain's Type 31 program is expected to support over 2,500 jobs across the UK, with different elements of the frigates being assembled and built at British shipyards. At least 150 of these jobs will be for new technical apprenticeships. The ships will be built exclusively in the UK.