BAE Systems plans to advance its Bofors 40mm Mk4 system, for arming smaller vessels to combat threats such as piracy, into sea trials next week.
The Bofors Mk4 system, built by BAE’s Swedish subsidiary GCS Weapons, is around 40% lighter and cheaper than previous models.
BAE intends to work with the Swedish Navy and arms procurement agency FMV to sponsor at-sea trials of the weapon system onboard the HMS Jagare patrol boat this week.
Upon completion of the trials, BAE would be ready to deliver the system to customers within 16 months, and discussions have already started with potential buyers.
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Speaking at the Euronaval maritime warfare conference in Paris, BAE integrated systems director Ulf Einefors said the development was a capability boost for smaller vessels.
"There are a number of markets we have not had traction before, such as in the Persian Gulf region," added Einefors. "This is an interesting option for them."
Managing to equip smaller, more agile warships with larger weapon systems enables navies and coastguards to engage with targets such as pirate skiffs and helicopters more effectively, without the need for a larger vessel.