SingaporeBAE Systems Inc. has received a $255 million USD contract to deliver three shipsets of the Mk 45 Medium Caliber Gun and automated Ammunition Handling System (AHS) for the Royal Australian Navy’s new Hunter class frigates. The Mk 45 gun system will equip the Royal Australian Navy with a common, adaptable gun system that can easily integrate advanced munitions to provide the firepower required to meet the Hunter class deterrence mission.

“We are proud to partner with BAE Systems Maritime Australia to deliver the Mk 45 gun system and Ammunition Handling System to the Royal Australian Navy,” said Brent Butcher, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems, Inc. “The highly reliable Mk 45 system maximizes the lethality of the Hunter class frigates, offers the capability to integrate advanced munitions, and supports additional future technology upgrades. With this system fielded on 11 fleets across the globe, it has proven it offers high-reliability.”

The Mk 45 gun system combines the 5-inch, 62-caliber Mk 45 Mod 4A naval gun with a fully automated AHS that continuously supplies the gun with ammunition, in high sea state conditions, without assistance from the crew. This automated gun system increases sailor productivity, reduces risk to sailor safety, and increases the operational capability of the Mk 45 at sea.

Work on the contract began in 2023 and will finish in 2036. Engineering work will be completed in Minneapolis, Minnesota and production will occur in Louisville, Kentucky. BAE Systems has delivered over 280 shipboard applications to the U.S. Navy and 11 fleets across the globe.

BAE Systems to provide Mk 45 gun upgrade to RAN frigates
BAE Systems Inc. was awarded a $30 million USD contract by the Commonwealth of Australia to upgrade existing Mk 45 Mod 2 naval gun systems on Anzac class frigates with a Common Control System (CCS). The upgrade modifies existing Mk 45 systems to eliminate obsolescence issues and extend the life of the gun system. The CCS upgrade replaces electronics on earlier Mk 45 Mod 1 and Mod 2 gun systems to be compatible with the Mk 45 Mod 4, the latest configuration used by the U.S. Navy. In addition to delivering commonality and interoperability with the U.S. Navy’s gun systems, the upgrade will equip the Mk 45s with the capability to integrate future extended-range precision guided munitions, such as the hypervelocity projectile.

“The Common Control System upgrade is the most cost-effective way to extend the life of Mk 45 gun systems, enabling them to provide critical ship naval fires and creating a configuration that allows for the integration of future precision guided munitions” said Brent Butcher, vice president of weapon systems at BAE Systems. “We are committed to modernising and equipping allied nations with enhanced Mk 45 gun systems to address current and future threats.”

Work on the contract will take place at the BAE Systems production facility in Louisville, Kentucky with the first delivery planned in early 2026.


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  1. So, when almost every other Western navy is moving to missile based systems the RAN are still fitting ancient tech naval barrelled munitions to its fleet. Close in electric gattlings and missile systems are far more effective but also far more costly and that’s the reason for this, no other.

    • All modern navies include naval guns of various calibres on their major surface combatants. Far from being “ancient tech” the naval guns are being included on other future surface combatants from Germany’s Next Generation Frigate to the USN’s DDG(X) and neither program will deliver any ships until the 2030’s. The modern naval gun is capable of fulfilling anti-surface role against smaller and softer targets and anti-air warfare with STRALES and future MAD-FIRES ammunition as well as shore bombardment (important for operating in the littorals). The current events in the Red Sea make it obvious that employing multi-million dollar missiles to destroy aerial drones worth thousands is economically unsustainable and the use of naval guns with specialised ammunition could prove a significantly cheaper option.

  2. How an earth does 3 naval guns cost 255 million dollars. It’s insane about of money.
    I can’t seriously buy into the logic that three standard naval guns cost the same as a dozen of the lastet M1A2 sep 3 tanks.
    Why do I get the feeling that defense policy is run by defense contractors rather than democratic governments.
    (Another question, why is Australia paying 3 times the price for those tanks compared to Poland)

  3. Why are we continuing with this Project, it has all the hallmarks of a money pit with very little reward.

    • I guess that will be explained in the government’s response to the Hilarides Review of the surface fleet, due – according to Richard Marles – before the end of February.


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