By Geoff Fein

The Navy is expected to order an additional 62 BAE Systems‘ Mk 38 Mod 2 weapon systems with the possibility of an additional 20 more in 2008, the company said yesterday.

BAE is also working on a modification to the weapon system to fire a 30mm found. The upgrade would make it a candidate for use on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, Ben Nies, BAE’s program manager of minor caliber gun systems, told reporters at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space symposium.

“LCS requires a 30mm [gun]. We are trying to compete,” he said.

In the mean time, BAE is expected to wrap up delivery of its first 67 Navy systems in April. The Navy will then place an order for 62 more in July, Nies said. Those 62 systems will be delivered over the course of the next year.

The Mk 38 Mod 2 is a close-in, remotely operated, ship protection weapon system for use against small fast boats, Nies said.

Since contract award in June 2004, BAE has delivered more than 80 systems. The current Navy program is for a total of 150, Nies said.

BAE is building six systems per month at its Louisville, Ky., facility, he added.

The current system has a range of 2.5 kilometers and can fire upward of 180 rounds per minute. Each magazine hold 168 rounds, Nies noted. The gun is deck mounted.

The Coast Guard is also interested in the gun. However, it has asked BAE to raise the Toplite Electro-Optical system to avoid sea spray, Nies said.

Topflite EOS has a Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR), an auto tracking capability, as well as a laser range finder. Nies added that Topflite is also being used as a surveillance system.

Currently, the weapon system fires a 25mm round. However, BAE is developing a prototype that will fire a 30mm round, he said.

Additionally, BAE is adding a 7.62mm capability to the weapon. This effort would make the weapon system suitable for use in harbors, Nies said.

In October ’07, BAE tested the capability of the weapon system to fire all three round types, in both day and night demonstrations. Nies said the system showed incredible accuracy.