The British Royal Navy’s 4.5in Mk8 Mod 1 gun system has proven its capabilities during trials overseen by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) employees.

During the tests over a five-day period, an Mk8 naval gun fired a 4.5in shell out to sea from shore to display the weapon system’s stopping power.

Trials have been carried out through a £41m contract signed in May 2016 between engineering services provider Babcock International and the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) International Guns, Missiles and Rockets (IGMR) project team.

The five-year agreement was designed to improve the gun’s capability and extend its service life with an aim to provide the Royal Navy with an upgraded 4.5in Mk8 Mod 1 medium calibre gun programme.

Babcock Mission Systems director Martin Laity said: “The team realised a key milestone with the live firing trials.

“The team realised a key milestone with the live firing trials.”

“Establishing and delivering on a suite of well-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) will ensure the programme is set up for success as the Mk8 contract progresses towards an effective, reliable and cost-effective solution for the MoD.”

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The series of live-firing tests have been conducted by Babcock International together with UK-based multinational defence technology company QinetiQ at the MoD’s Eskmeals Range in Cumbria.

DE&S IGMR Project Team service delivery manager Matthew Norris said: “DE&S is dedicated to delivering essential improvements to ensure this weapon remains available for Royal Navy operations into the future and being part of these tests was extremely rewarding.”

Integrated on to the UK Navy’s Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, the modern, semi-automatic Mk8 weapon variant can be used to rapidly fire high-explosive rounds against land and sea targets with exact accuracy.