American Rheinmetall Munitions has secured a contract to develop a prototype 30mm x 173mm airburst solution for the US Navy.

The contract has an estimated value of $14.3m (€13.5m) and falls under the US Navy’s other transaction agreement (OTA).

According to the company, the airburst solution will be a low-cost engagement capability that will boost the existing and future naval gun weapon systems used against potential surface and air threats.

The prototype system will result in attaining initial operating capability (IOC) for the 30mm x 173mm MK 340 MOD 0 Kinetic Energy Electronically Timed (KEET) airburst munition.

This system is derived from Rheinmetall’s 30mm x 173mm Kinetic Energy Timed Fuze (KETF) cartridge.

It is currently in use with the German, Hungarian and Australian militaries.

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The MK 340 KEET system will provide lethality enhancements as well as reduce the rounds fired, as the system will increase the first-round hit probability.

American Rheinmetall Munitions CEO John Somich said: “We are excited to deliver our next-generation lethality solutions to the US Navy for the first time.

“This award further demonstrates American Rheinmetall’s ability to bring innovative technologies into the hands of our US Joint Force.”

Rheinmetall’s airburst ammunition (ABM) can be used for naval applications. It comes in two different variants of 30mm x 173mm and 35mm x 228mm calibre.

American Rheinmetall Munitions is also working on the development of a 40mm airburst fusing for the US Army.

In addition, the company is producing PGU-48/B frangible armour piercing cartridge for the US Air Force’s (USAF) F35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.