MLG 27 From Mauser-Werke Oberndorf: New Light Naval Gun For New Missions
(Source : Rheinmetall De Tec AG; issued Sept. 11, 2001)


With the new light naval gun of the Rheinmetall DeTec subsidiary, Mauser-Werke Oberndorf Waffensysteme GmbH, gun developments for the German Navy have for the time being reached their heyday. The Mauser company boasts highly specialized know-how on the production of naval guns. This is testified above all by the company's development activities in the naval sector, such as the light naval gun MN 20 GS with the MK 20 Rh 202 cannon for small ships and boats.

This automatic weapon is designed to engage surface and coastal targets. Another example testifying to the company's expertise in the construction of light naval guns is the automatic MN 30 GS. This close-in gun system has been designed for the self-defense of ships and as the armament of small boats.

The MLG 27 light naval gun is designed to engage air, surface, and land targets. Air targets can be engaged out to 2,500 meters. Surface targets are engaged at ranges up to 4,000 meters and speed boats up to 2,500 meters.

In view of a changed mission spectrum for the navy, armament systems will be required that can provide highly effective close-in protection against threats from naval, land or air forces. What matters in this connection is to take account of the large variety of deployment scenarios of the navy, for instance as part of crisis reaction forces, as security escort in evacuation missions or other missions. These requirements are fully met by Mauser's new MLG 27 light naval gun.

The weapon can be employed to engage air targets up to a range of 2,500 meters. The combat range against small highly mobile naval targets is also 2,500 meters and reaches as far as 4,000 meters against larger surface units. The engagement of mobile and fixed land-based pinpoint targets is possible out to 4,000 meters. These targets include lightly armored vehicles, hard and partially hardened positions as well as area targets engaged with a newly developed type of ammunition.

The gun has been conceived both for new ships -e.g. corvettes and frigates- as well as for upgrading existing units or to replace existing 20 mm and 40 mm guns. The system can be mounted on all units without requiring penetration of the deck and can be employed as the primary armament on motor gun boats and ships so far unarmed. The gun can also be mounted on major surface units, such as corvettes, frigates or supply ships as secondary armament without any major technical effort.

The MLG 27 boasts a high-speed drive system with brushless electric motors, a high rate of fire of 1,700 rounds per minute as well as a 90-round ammunition supply on the gun. The gun, which features a high rate of fire, is coupled to an effective fire control system from STN Atlas Elektronik. The thermal imager sensors, the TV camera, laser range finder and automatic target tracking system with a proven video tracker ensure rapid and reliable target acquisition, tracking and engagement. This equipment ensures an extremely high first-round hit probability even under the conditions of heavily reduced visibility. Target tracking, fire control computation as well as gun control are performed from a remote operator console. Thus, the MLG 27 can be used as a stand-alone gun without integration into a higher-level command and control system. In this case, it is controlled from the gunner's control panel under deck.

There is a capability to interconnect the light naval gun to higher-level sensors to pick up target data (angle and range). Growth potential exists to integrate the MLG27 into higher-level C3I systems.

There is a maximum of 8 seconds reaction time between target acquisition and target engagement. This time window is sufficient to carry out the necessary functions. The Mauser automatic cannon combines a high rate of fire of 1,700 rounds per minute with excellent first-round hit probability. In the case of air targets, the probability of achieving a mission kill with two bursts of one second each is 90%. The ammunition supply of 90 rounds on the gun permit four target engagements of 0.8 seconds each. With 0.4 seconds per burst, the gun can be employed eight times to effectively engage targets.

In selecting the gun, we chose the 27 mm (BK 27) aircraft gun fitted to the MRCA Tornado of the German, Italian, UK and Saudi Arabian air forces and in the Swedish Gripen fighter aircraft and also to be used on the EUROFIGHTER. This meets the requirements of the navy for an automatic cannon of high rate of fire that will best meet the requirements of present and future threat scenarios. Further benefits of this compact weapon are that it is positioned in the middle of the caliber range -i.e. between 20 and 40 mm- and is more similar to 20 mm guns in terms of weight, dimensions and mounting.

The construction of the gun system permits easy access to the individual components thereby facilitating maintenance operations. The MLG 27 consists of six mutually optimized components:

*Armament with gun, barrel, muzzle damper, muzzle brake and mounting fixture
*Gun mount structure with cradle, cradle hood and barrel guide
*Upper mount with cradle carrier, gun control system, gun electrical unit and electro-optical sensor unit
*Lower mount with pedestal, connection panel and flexible cable connection
*Ammunition feed mechanism with magazine, splash guard and flexible feed chute
*Monitor, control panel and electronics for remote control

The gun features an azimuth range of ±170° and an elevation range of -15° to +60°. The tracking rate is 60°/s. The optical sight, thermal imager and laser range finder are laterally mounted on the elevation axis of the gun. The thermal imager operates on a wavelength of 7.5 µm to 10.5 µm. The eye-safe laser range finder has a repetition rate of up to 6 Hz and an effective range of up to 40 km.

All key components, such as the sensor unit, barrel or muzzle damper, can easily be replaced by the crew using on-board equipment.

The MLG 27 is designed so that no armor and guard plates are required. This design-inherent feature allows a weight of 850 kg. For comparison: The 40 mm MEL 58/51 gun weighs 2,600 kg; the 40 mm MDL 58 weighs 6,500 kg and the 40 mm Breda gun weighs in at 7,700 kg. The entire ammunition range currently in service is available for this new naval gun. It includes the usual HE, AP, APHE, target practice ammunition. The caliber of the cartridges is 27 mm x 145. Additionally, a new 27 mm sub-caliber ammunition FAPDS (frangible armor-piercing discarding sabot) was developed and increases the range of the gun by a considerable amount.

The newly developed FAPDS projectile is an armor-piercing type of ammunition of enhanced secondary effect at the target. This performance is achieved by a high-performance tungsten penetrator embedded in the projectile. It penetrates homogenous steel and composite armor materials and then, through fragmentation, produces an effect equivalent to a blast effect. The muzzle velocity of the projectile is 1100 m/s.

The MLG 27 from Mauser-Werke Oberndorf Waffensysteme GmbH, a subsidiary of Rheinmetall DeTec AG, combines low weight with high fire power. In its modern configuration, it is ideally suited to replace the outdated 20 mm and 40 mm systems.

The optimum combination of the BK 27 high-performance revolver gun, the most advanced ammunition technology, precision fire control and highly dynamic mounting makes the MLG 27 the most advanced naval gun currently offered on the world market.

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