Babcock, BAE Systems awarded contract extension for Royal Navy MCG

British aerospace and defence company Babcock International and compatriot BAE Systems have been awarded a five-year contract extension by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to continue in-service support to the Royal Navy’s 4.5 Mk8 medium calibre gun (MCG).

The agreement is worth about £43m and will see the continuation of in-service support to the 4.5 MCG across 19 Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers as well as HMS Collingwood.

Photo: UK MOD

The continued collaboration between Babcock and BAE Systems, the gun’s designer, is said to offer the capacity, proven capabilities and infrastructure to run in-service support.

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Babcock has also opted to implement innovative digital twin technology to drive an increase in reliability and availability of the weapons system and work to extend its service life. The effort to increase efficiency will also see the roll out of BAE Systems’ design interventions.

The digital twin enables digital connection with the asset presenting near real-time insight to the materiel state of the gun. It combines Babcock proprietary data capture technology and data science capability, augmenting Babcock’s engineering pedigree in naval gun support. The technology provides the on-board maintainer with the information they need to optimise maintenance and provides Babcock the foresight needed to predict future faults and proactively intervene to keep the asset operational and increase availability.

“The 4.5 MCG is a key weapons system on board the fleet, helping to keep personnel safe during operations. By creating a digital twin to better predict performance and define maintenance requirements, we are delivering real-world use of technology for our customer,” Will Erith, CEO Babcock Marine said.

The Mk8 MCG is a modern, semi-automatic variant and can rapidly fire high explosive rounds against land and sea targets with pinpoint accuracy.