BAE Systems [BA] on April 13 debuted the design of a new guided projectile that can be fired from its 57mm Mk 110 naval gun system.
The company believes it can develop the new munition—named the Ordnance for Rapid Kill of Attack Craft Mk295 Mod 1 guided projectile, or ORKA—and have it ready for fielding within two years, Darien Kearns, capture manager for munitions programs for BAE’s land and armaments sector, said at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space 2015 exposition. There’s just one catch: It needs government funding to continue development.
The idea behind ORKA was to incorporate precision guidance into a 57mm round so that it could be used to defend Navy ships against the small, swarming boat threat typified by countries like Iran, said Chris King, director of business development for BAE land and armaments.
“Our 57mm gun has a low weight characteristic. It has a good range, it has good accuracy, but it doesn’t have precision,” he said. “So if we could take evolving technology and create a precise round for that caliber of gun, we think that’s a good idea.”
The projectile would be equipped with a multi-mode imaging seeker made by United Technology Armament Systems for the Office of Naval Research, Kearns said. To drive down the risk, it incorporates a four-canard actuation system and tail fins that have been tested on BAE’s 155mm gun, as well as the same warhead from the Mk295 Mod 0.
ORKA has an estimated maximum range of 10 kilometers, and the 57mm gun would be able to deliver as many as 220 rounds per minute. However, the biggest advantage is its efficiency, Kearns said.
“What these munitions will allow us to do is to engage targets with a single shot, so that you’re not firing 15, 20 or 30 rounds to engage one target,” he said. It also would allow the Navy to better attack moving surface craft, small boats and fast incoming craft.
The Navy’s littoral combat ships, manufactured by Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Austal USA, and Coast Guard’s National Security Cutters, made by Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII], are equipped with BAE’s 57mm gun.