Babcock International and BAE Systems have been jointly awarded a contract to deliver an enhanced 'total gun support' service package to ensure availability and sustainability of the UK Royal Navy's Medium Calibre Guns (MCGs).
The £41m contract has a base performance period of five years and could be extended for another five years.
As part of a collaborative approach, both the companies will bring together their expertise to offer capacity, proven capabilities, and infrastructure to safely and effectively run in-service support for the weapon system.
This support service will not only increase reliability and functionality of all the 20 in-service 4.5in Mark8 guns until 2039, but also reduce obsolescence risk.
Babcock is currently serving as the in-service support provider for the navy's MCGs.
UK Defence Procurement Minister Philip Dunne said: "This agreement safeguards a key weapons system for the Royal Navy, which continues to protect the UK's global interests.
"This £41m contract is supported by our £178bn commitment to the best possible equipment for our Armed Forces, and by our growing Defence budget, which rose for the first time in six years in April.
"Sustaining 40 skilled jobs in Devon and Cumbria, the contract also demonstrates Defence's contribution to the wider UK economy."
BAE Systems was earlier contracted to upgrade 13, 4.5in guns at bespoke facilities at Devonport.
The Royal Navy's 4.5-inch Mark8 naval gun has been designed to be capable of firing up to two dozen high explosive shells, weighing more than 80lb, per minute.
Image: A 4.5-inch Mk 8 Mod 1 naval gun fitted onboard UK Navy's Type 45 destroyer, HMS Defender. Photo: courtesy of LA(Phot) Dan Rosenbaum/MOD.