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Wednesday 29 January 2020

Naval guns, 13 for Rs 7,100 crore, from US to India

The Mk 45 is designed for use against surface warships, anti-aircraft and shore bombardment to support amphibious operations

The US has approved the sale of 13 Mk 45 naval guns to India. The $ 1 billion worth guns will cost Rs 7,100 crore to India with all the equipment. The Defence Security and Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which approved the US defence deals, gave this information late on Wednesday. The deal was approved under foreign military sales.

These naval guns have been prepared by the US Department of Defence for naval operations. India will be assigned an upgraded version, which will have a longer barrel length. Mk 45 cannons are capable of carrying out surface and airstrikes from warships.

The DSCA has issued mandatory certification for the deal. The agency takes a month to approve any deal. Any objections related to the transaction can be lodged during this period. Under this deal, 3,500 projectiles, ammunition, parts and other equipment used for artillery will be sold to India.

Mk 45 naval guns to enhance maritime operations’ capacity

The US will also train Indian soldiers to operate these guns. With the availability of these guns, the capability of the Indian Navy‘s maritime operations will expand. Indian warships will be able to conduct precise security operations with the help of the US Navy and other navies.

With the introduction of the Mk 45, the Indian Navy will be able to effectively deal with the current and future threats in the maritime sector.

According to the deal with the US Defence Agency, the sale of these guns will not create a military imbalance in the region.

The MK 45 cannons are manufactured in Louisville and Kentucky. The agency has said that the US will bear the cost of transporting the guns to India under the deal, which also covers technical data and other necessary support sharing.

The 5-inch/54 calibre (Mk 45) lightweight gun is a US naval artillery gun mount consisting of a 127 mm (5 in) L54 Mark 19 gun on the Mark 45 mount. Originally designed and built by United Defence, it is now manufactured by BAE Systems Land & Armaments after the former was acquired.

The latest 5-inch/62 calibre version consists of a longer barrel L62 Mark 36 gun fitted on the same Mark 45 mount. The gun is designed for use against surface warships, anti-aircraft and shore bombardment to support amphibious operations. The gun mount features an automatic loader with a capacity of 20 rounds. These can be fired under full automatic control, taking a little over a minute to exhaust those rounds at maximum fire rate.

For sustained use, the gun mount would be occupied by a six-man crew (gun captain, panel operator, and four ammunition loaders) below deck to keep the gun continuously supplied with ammunition.

Featured image: Atlantic Ocean, 9 January 2007: Guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) test-fires its five-inch gun on the bow of the ship during training. The Sherman is currently conducting training exercises in the Atlantic Ocean. [US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Joshua Adam Nuzzo]

With inputs from Polmar Norman's The Naval Institute Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the US fleet (18th ed), Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, pp. 492–493 

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