BAE Systems has secured a $70m contract from the US Navy to upgrade five additional Mk45 naval gun systems.

The contract involves the modernisation of the existing guns to the Mod 4 configuration, which will deliver greater firepower and extended range.

The Mk45 gun was developed as a lighter weight alternative for the MK 42 5″/54 calibre gun mount to engage surface and air targets and to support expeditionary operations.

Mk45 Mod 4 system is a 5in, 62-caliber fully automatic naval gun designed to enhance naval surface fire support (NSFS) and overall mission performance.

BAE Systems has so far delivered more 260 systems to the US Navy and the navies of ten other allies.

The structurally strengthened gun mount in the Mod 4 configuration delivers a 50% increase in firing energy. This increases the speed and range of munitions.

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The upgrade also includes a fully digitised control system that is designed to provide enhanced computing power. In addition, the control system features a touchscreen user interface.

Other modifications include a reduced signature, and low maintenance gun shield.

BAE Systems vice-president and weapon systems general manager Joseph Senftle said: “The Mk45 retains its reputation as the industry standard for large-calibre naval guns, and the Mod 4 makes it adaptable to advanced munitions.

“We are the world leader in developing and manufacturing maritime guns and producing reliable and affordable technology that meets the warfighter’s needs today and into the future.”

The company is positioning the Mod 4 upgrade as a cost-effective solution to ‘increase capability and adaptability for advanced munitions’.

Upgrades to the navy’s existing gun systems will significantly extend their service-life.

The US Navy deploys the Mk45 guns on its fleet of guided-missile Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

BAE Systems will perform the contract work on the upgrades at its facility in Louisville, Kentucky, and complete it by the end of 2023.