Northrop Grumman is working to enhance the US Navy’s firepower with its 57mm guided high-explosive ammunition, tailored for addressing agile surface threats, drones, and swarming adversaries.

In a strategic move aimed at bolstering US Navy defences, Northrop Grumman has secured a development contract for its 57mm guided high-explosive ammunition. Designed for use with the Mk110 naval gun system, this ammunition represents a step toward enhancing the Navy’s ability to counter fast-moving surface threats.

BAE Systems provides the fully automatic Mk110 naval gun system as the deck gun of choice for the US Navy’s Independence variant of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). In 2018, BAE Systems provided two additional Mk110 Naval Gun Systems to the US Navy to bring the total number of Mk110 systems to 15 for the Independence variant. 

The Mk110 is a multi-mission, medium-calibre shipboard weapon, effective against air, surface, or ground threats without requiring multiple round types. The system can fire up to 220 rounds per minute at a range of more than nine nautical miles using BAE Systems’ six-mode programmable, pre-fragmented, and proximity-fused (3P) ammunition.

Northrop Grumman asserts that this ammunition can perform continuous manoeuvres in flight, precisely homing in on designated targets. The guided 57mm ammunition features an onboard seeker responsible for tracking and acquiring moving targets. Moreover, it is equipped with a fuse that can adapt to proximity or point-detonation mode, tailoring its response for maximum effectiveness against the intended target.

Dave Fine, vice president of Armament Systems at Northrop Grumman, expressed enthusiasm, stating: “Our new 57mm guided ammunition is genuinely innovative in its capacity to identify, track, and guide itself to a target. The Navy will gain an enhanced capability to defend against mobile threats and achieve a higher level of accuracy in neutralising them.”

This ammunition marks the latest addition to Northrop Grumman’s advanced ammunition portfolio, which includes the Precision Guidance Kit. The 57mm round utilises seekers and an aft-manoeuvre system to provide continuous trajectory guidance, even when the target frequently changes its course.

This guided ammunition offers the Navy an extended stand-off range and a cost-effective solution for countering small, fast-moving threats without modifying existing weapon systems.

As Northrop Grumman’s guided 57mm ammunition undergoes development and qualification, it promises to deliver enhanced accuracy and adaptability. This development further solidifies the US Navy’s ability to safeguard national interests and respond effectively to evolving threats at sea.