BAE Systems to supply naval guns for Belgian-Dutch MCMV program

British arms, security, and aerospace company BAE Systems has been selected to supply twelve Bofors 40 Mk4 naval guns to the Belgian and Dutch navies as part of the joint mine countermeasures vessels (MCMV) program.

The shipbuilding company Kership, a subsidiary of Naval Group and Piriou, will install the guns on the twelve mine hunting vessels – six for Belgium, six for the Netherlands.

Photo: Finnish Navy

According to BAE Systems, the Bofors 40 Mk4 is a flexible, highly versatile gun system designed to react quickly in coastal environments. Lightweight and compact, the naval gun system combines long range and a high rate of fire, giving the mine hunting vessels a greater level of defense against surface, air, and shore-based threats.

“The Bofors 40 Mk4 is a highly automated naval gun which will provide the Belgian and Dutch navies with significant firepower and great range,” Lena Gillström, managing director for BAE Systems Bofors in Karlskoga, Sweden, said.

Offering high survivability and tactical freedom at all levels of conflict, the Bofors 40 Mk4 also provides optimized ammunition types, including the cost-efficient programmable 3P ammunition. The ability to automatically switch between different types of ammunition gives a high level of combat flexibility in the face of new threats such as UAVs.

The Bofors 40 Mk4 naval gun is the latest generation in the 40mm family and was most recently selected by Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

The MCMV program

The contract for twelve MCMV for the Belgian and Royal Dutch navies was awarded in May 2019 and will span over more than ten years. Belgium Naval & Robotics (BNR) — Naval Group / ECA Group consortium — are leading the production phase, which will be executed by Kership.

The first unit is scheduled for delivery to the Belgian Navy in 2024.

The ships will be equipped with a complete drone module containing a total of more than eighty underwater, surface and aerial drones entirely dedicated to mine hunting.

In May 2020, BNR successfully passed the « systems functional review » and now the consortium is preparing the “preliminary design review” for the end of 2021.

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