BAE Systems has been awarded a $245m contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide a maritime indirect fires system (MIFS) for the UK Royal Navy’s next-generation Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

The UK's MoD selected BAE Systems as the preferred bidder last year after a competitive process. Under the contract, the company will design and develop three MIFS integrated gunnery systems (IGS) and one trainer system, as well as  ammunition.

The contract also contains an option for five additional systems to be installed into the rest of the Type 26 fleet.

BAE Systems' weapon systems vice-president and general manager Joe Senftle said: “Our teams in the US and UK will bring unrivalled skills and expertise to the MIFS development and production.

"MIFS IGS feature a 5in, 62-calibre Mk 45 Mod 4 naval gun system and an automated ammunition handling system."

“The world-leading Mk 45 will provide the Royal Navy with a proven, reliable, and highly-effective system that is adaptable to firing a wide range of today’s ammunition, as well as future precision-guided munitions currently in development.”

MIFS IGS feature a 5in, 62-calibre Mk 45 Mod 4 naval gun system, an automated ammunition handling system, gun fire control system, and qualified ammunition. It can typically hit a target accurately up to 23 miles away, but this can be increased to hit targets located 57 miles away with specially-adapted extended-range shells.

The gun will also be able to deliver up to 20 standard shells a minute at more than twice the speed of sound.

Currently, the Mk 45 is used by the US Navy and ten other allied nations. BAE Systems has delivered more than 240 Mk 45 guns to date.

Image: BAE System’s MK45 naval gun. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.