Tag Archives: OTO Melara

Naval interceptor

It is said in the Jane’s Defence Weekly that the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has unveiled a new high-speed and stealthy naval interceptor designed to perform a range of missions, including base defence for the service’s two naval facilities, force protection, as well as maritime security operations alongside its existing Fearless-class patrol vessels and future Littoral Mission Vessels (LMV).

The vessel on parade is visibly less equipped than the model shown in a video, suggesting that this particular example is either a prototype or a newly built hull awaiting further outfitting
The vessel on parade is visibly less equipped than the model shown in a video, suggesting that this particular example is either a prototype or a newly built hull awaiting further outfitting

The new interceptor, called the Specialized Marine Craft (SMC), will be officially revealed to the public as part of the military display aimed at showcasing the Singapore Armed Forces’ latest capabilities during the country’s National Day celebration on 9 August. The SMC replaces the service’s Fast Boats, which were retired in 2008.

According to specifications provided by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the 40-tonne SMC – which is based on an aluminium hullform with a low Radar Cross Section (RCS) design – measures 72 feet/22 m in length and has a beam of 18 feet/5.5 m. Kelvin Wong, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent understands that the draft of the vessel is approximately 4 feet/1.2 m.

Major Lee Pui Yau, commander of the SMC squadron, told reporters during a media preview event on 27 June that development of the SMC began in 2003 in collaboration with Singapore Technologies (ST) Marine, with the first vessel entering service in 2009 after extensive trials and design refinements in the intervening years.

Maj Lee said the vessel’s complement of four comprises a commander, a coxswain, a navigator, and a weapons specialist. He added that the SMC is not designed to embark additional personnel. Propulsion is achieved with two Hamilton waterjets, likely the HM series that are designed for marine craft ranging from 56 to 197 feet/17 to 60 m, which enable unfettered operation in shallow waters, while enabling the vessel to attain maximum speeds in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h.

The vessel's electro-optical sensor and what is likely to be a navigation radar can be seen mounted on its starboard mast
The vessel’s electro-optical sensor and what is likely to be a navigation radar can be seen mounted on its starboard mast

The SMC is armed with a foredeck-mounted stabilised OTO Melara Hitrole G remote weapons station that is equipped with a 12.7-mm FN Herstal M2HB QCB machine gun and complements the stealthy profile of the SMC with its low-RCS shield. According to company literature, the Hitrole G weapon station is capable of engaging surface and aerial targets and has an internal capacity for 400 rounds of ammunition. Additional ammunition can be stored under the mount. The company also stated that the Hitrole G is also equipped with a daylight camera, a cooled infrared imager, and a laser rangefinder.

Specifics of the SMC’s electronic systems were not disclosed, although MoD said the vessel features «advanced sensors» that provide «state-of-the-art surveillance capabilities» as well as a communications suite that enables improved integration with other RSN fleet assets and facilities. However, Kelvin Wong understands from Maj Lee that the vessel is equipped with a mast-mounted electro-optical sensor turret as well as a radar system, although he declined to elaborate further on their origins.

According to Maj Lee, the RSN currently operates three vessels with a further five expected to enter service by 2017.

The Specialised Marine Craft is armed with a stabilised 12.7-mm OTO Melara Hitrole G remote weapons station, which features a low radar cross section shield design
The Specialised Marine Craft is armed with a stabilised 12.7-mm OTO Melara Hitrole G remote weapons station, which features a low radar cross section shield design

Italian volcano

India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently approved the INR15 billion ($243.5 million) procurement of 13 127-mm guns for Indian Navy (IN) warships, for which Italy’s OTO Melara was the sole bidder.

VULCANO can fire all standard 127-mm/5 inches ammunition as well as the new VULCANO family of ammunition
VULCANO can fire all standard 127-mm/5 inches ammunition as well as the new VULCANO family of ammunition

According to Rahul Bedi, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, OTO Melara has offered its 127/64 LW – Vulcano gun system for 13 indigenously designed and built Shivalik-class frigates and Delhi-class destroyers. OTO Melara emerged as the solitary vendor after BAE Systems declined to field its 127 mm/62 calibre Mk-45 Naval Gun System.

The November 2013 tender stipulated that three of the 13 naval guns would be imported and the remaining 10 licence-built by state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) at Haridwar, 200 km north of New Delhi. The MoD also wanted the vendors to undertake production, quality control and timeline guarantees for the BHEL-produced naval guns but without providing the vendor with executive or supervisory authority over the public sector company. BAE Systems opposed this arrangement, and in an official statement declared its unwillingness to accept the «disproportionate level of risk» in the tender.

Industry sources said OTO Melara has no such reservations as BHEL has been licence-producing its 76/62 Super Rapid Light gun since the mid-1990s. The contract will require special clearance by the MoD’s Defence Acquisition Council, however, as India’s Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) discourages solitary bids. The DPP provides for exceptions based on operational exigencies, of which the 127-mm gun procurement is one, Indian Navy sources said.

VULCANO is equipped with a modular feeding magazine, composed by 4 drums with 14 ready to fire ammunition each
VULCANO is equipped with a modular feeding magazine, composed by 4 drums with 14 ready to fire ammunition each

 

OTO Melara: 127/64 LW – VULCANO System

The 127/64 LW – VULCANO System consists of four key sub-systems:

  • The medium caliber 127/64 LW Gun assembly;
  • The Automated Ammunition Handling System;
  • The Naval Fire Control Support;
  • The VULCANO family of ammunition.

The 127/64 LW – VULCANO is a state of art medium caliber gun suitable for installation on large and medium size ships and intended for surface fire and naval gunfire support as main role and anti-aircraft fire as secondary role. The compactness of the gun feeding system makes possible the installation on narrow section crafts.

The 127/64 LW – VULCANO is equipped with a modular feeding magazine, composed by 4 drums with 14 ready to fire ammunition each, reloadable during firing, and highly flexible in terms of selection of ammunition, independently from their position in the drums. Ammunition flow is reversible as rounds can be downloaded automatically.

The maximum range of the gun is up to 100 km
The maximum range of the gun is up to 100 km

The 127/64 LW – VULCANO can fire all standard 127-mm/5 inches ammunition as well as the new VULCANO family of ammunition.

The 127/64 LW – VULCANO has digital/analogical interface and ballistic calculation capabilities that allow a smooth integration with any Combat Management System.

The Automatic Ammunition Handling System is a modular solution adaptable to any ship ammunition magazine layout; it is able to load the feeding magazine of the gun without man assistance during operation to allow a sustained firing action of the gun. The system is able to handle both standard 127-mm/5-inches ammunition and new VULCANO family of ammunition.

The Naval Fire Control Support is a mission planning system that may support the Combat Management System for definition of possible firing solutions, ammunition selection, trajectory definition, best ship course identification.

The 127-mm VULCANO ammunition family is composed by Ballistic Extended Range (BER) and Guided Long Range (GLR) ammunition with different multifunctional fuses, sensor and final guidance that extend the range of the gun up to 100 km.

The 127/64 LW VULCANO System is ITAR free and it has been currently selected by three customers.

 

Specifications

VULCANO is a state of art medium caliber gun suitable for installation on large and medium size ships
VULCANO is a state of art medium caliber gun suitable for installation on large and medium size ships

Rate of fire:                                       32 rds/min ± 10% elevation depending

Dry Weight (without ammunition):   33,000 kg ± 5% configuration depending

Training arc:                                       ±155º

Elevation arc:                                    -12º/+70º

Training speed/acceleration max:       40º/sec (60º/sec2)

Elevation speed/acceleration max:     30º/sec (40º/sec2)

Ready-to-fire-rounds:                 56

Range, max:                                       >100 km (Vulcano ammunition)

Cooling system:                               sea water – fresh water for flushing

Electrical power supply:                     440 V, 3 -phase, 60 Hz, <135 kW main circuit, 115 V, 1 -phase, 60 Hz, 4 kW