The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed the selection of BAE Systems as preferred bidder to supply the Maritime Indirect Fire System (MIFS) for the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) next-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS). Subject to contract award, BAE Systems’ Land and Armaments Global Combat Systems business (teamed with its US-based sister Weapon Systems business) will provide the MIFS Integrated Gunnery System (IGS) to the Type 26 GCS programme; the full IGS includes the Mk 45 Mod 4 5in/62 calibre naval gun system along with an automated ammunition handling system, a gun fire control system, and qualified ammunition.
''The Mk 45 is at the centre of our MIFS solution and will provide the Royal Navy with a low-risk, low-cost, and highly effective automatic weapon system," said Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems. ''It combines the benefits of a mature, reliable, and proven system with the capacity to deliver the full range of ammunition available today and in development."
BAE Systems was downselected for MIFS in early 2014 ahead of a rival bid from Babcock (teamed with OTO Melara of Italy). However, the MoD has only now publicly acknowledged BAE Systems as the preferred bidder.
The Mk 45 gun is already in service with the US Navy and 10 other allied nations, with more than 240 systems delivered globally. It is understood that the Mk 45 Mod 4 mountings to be supplied to the MIFS programme will be remanufactured and upgraded from existing Mk 45 Mod 2 gun systems.
Entering service from 2023, the Type 26 GCS has been designed as a versatile, multi-mission warship capable of undertaking a wide range of roles from high-intensity warfare to humanitarian assistance, either operating independently or as part of a task group.