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Explained: US to sell $1 billion worth defence equipment to India; what does this mean?

The Indian government had requested the US to buy up to 13 MK 45 5 inch/62 caliber (MOD 4) naval guns and 3,500 D349 Projectile 5 inch/54 caliber (MOD 1) ammunition.

Written by Mehr Gill , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 24, 2019 10:23:12 am
Explained: US to sell  billion worth defence equipment to India; what does this mean? The MK 45 5 inch/62 caliber (MOD 4) naval guns (Source: baesystems.com/)

The US State Department has approved the sale of naval guns and other equipment worth $1 billion to India for use against warships, anti-aircraft and shore bombardment. The sale includes 13 MK 45 5 inch/62 caliber (MOD 4) naval guns and some other equipment that will be manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments.

According to a press release issued by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the Indian government requested to buy up to 13 MK 45 5 inch/62 caliber (MOD 4) naval guns and 3,500 D349 Projectile 5 inch/54 caliber (MOD 1) ammunition.

Other equipment included ammunition, spare parts, personnel and equipment training, publications and technical data, transportation and US government and contractor technical assistance and other related logistics support. The total estimated cost of all of this equipment is over $1 billion.

“The MK 45 Gun System will provide the capability to conduct anti­surface warfare and anti-air defence missions while enhancing interoperability with US and other allied forces. India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence,” the statement read.

Explained: What is the MK 45 gun system?

The MK 45 is a fully automatic naval gun system that is installed on ships and provides a Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) range of more than 20 nautical miles (36 km) along with improved propelling charge. This system of guns is currently in use by the US Navy on their fleet of Ticonderoga class cruisers and Arleigh Burke class destroyers. MK 45 is an upgraded version with a 62 caliber barrel, strengthened gun and mount subsystems, advanced control system enhancements, greater range and firepower, a reduced signature and low maintenance gun shield.

MK 45 MOD 4 guns is a light-weight version of the MK 42 5 inch/54 caliber gun mount meant to support expeditionary operations and engage surface and air targets. Significantly, the MOD 4 configuration gun mount is believed to boost the firing range by over 50 per cent, increasing the speed and range of munitions. The principal contractor of the guns for this deal is Minneapolis-based BAE Systems Land and Armaments with a gun manufacturing unit in Louisville, Kentucky. In July, BAE Systems secured a $70 million contract with the US Navy to modernise their existing MK 45 guns to the MOD 4 configuration.

Part of the MK 45 guns, the NSFS system, was developed for close in and over the horizon (OTH) amphibious operations. It is meant for both naval gunfire support and to destroy any hostile anti-ship weapons and air defence systems, according to the Federation of American Scientists. The two main elements of the NSFS system are the Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM) and the modified MK 45 (MOD 4) gun mount.

Other countries that have been sold the MOD 4 naval guns are Japan, Australia and South Korea. The US may also sell these guns to other allies including Britain and Canada. BAE Systems has delivered more than 260 systems to the US Navy and ten other US allies, according to Naval Technology.

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