Royal Navy tests upgraded Mk.8 gun

The Royal Navy’s upgraded Mk.8 naval gun fired a 4.5” shell out to sea from shore in a recent test at a Cumbrian range.

The trial, part of a £41 million contract with Babcock signed in May 2016 to improve the gun and extend its service life, involved the first land-based firing of a fully-turreted 4.5” gun since 2001.

Carried out in partnership with QinetiQ over a five-day period at the MOD Eskmeals Range, the firings were tested against various ranges, altitudes and accuracy criteria.

Results from the successful trials will now be fed into the program as the five-year contract continues. The test was overseen by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) employees. DE&S provided the full gun system for the test, inspected and re-certified the barrel and breech involved in the firing and worked with suppliers to ensure the firings were carried out in a safe and effective way.

“DE&S is dedicated to delivering essential improvements to ensure this weapon remains available for Royal Navy operations into the future and being part of these tests was extremely rewarding,” DE&S international guns, missiles and rockets project team service delivery manager, Matthew Norris said. “To feel the thump of a 4.5” shell being fired first-hand was a good way to finish the last 12 months of work.”

The Mk.8 arms the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers and is based on a design which has been in active service for nearly half a century.

Photo: Photo: Royal Navy

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