quinta-feira, 31 de julho de 2008

Oto Melara the exclusive supplier of naval gun mounts to the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Oto Melara has managed to hold on to its position as the exclusive supplier of naval gun mounts to the Royal Netherlands Navy. Yesterday, the company (part of Finmeccanica) signed contracts for the supply of four 30-mm. Marlin weapon systems and eight 12.7-mm. Hitrole naval turrets to be installed on the four new Patrol Ships for the service.

According to a announcement made by Oto Melara this morning, the contracts result from an international bid process which started in July 2007.

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Each of the four new 3,750-metric-ton Patrol Ships to be built for the Dutch navy will be armed with a 76-mm. gun mount, a 30-mm. gun mount, and two 12.7-mm. machine gun mounts, all remotely controlled from the ship's combat information center and all supplied by Oto Melara. Image: Thales

Known competitors included BAE Systems, Rafael, Rheinmetall and Kongsberg (the last offering its Sea Protector for the lighter weapon mount).

In response to "stringent requirements of emerging warfare," the 30-mm. Marlin and 12.7-mm. Hitrole NT have been conceived to operate in synergy with other components of the ship's combat system, says Oto Melara.

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The 30-mm. Marlin gun mount as installed on an Italian patrol boat. Photo: Oto Melara

The total value of the two contracts is more than 12 million euros ($18.6 million) including technical assistance and a first batch of spare parts.

Deliveries are to be completed by 2011.

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The 12.7-mm. machine gun Hitrole mount. Photo: Oto Melara

The newly-ordered mounts will not be the only Oto Melara weapons systems on the new patrol ships: their main armament will be Oto Melara's ubiquitous 76-mm. naval gun mount. However, the Dutch are acquiring these second-hand from the Danish navy.

The 76-mm. gun is also the main gun on the Dutch navy's two remaining M-class frigates (six of which have sold to Belgium, Chile and Portugal) while the four newly-delivered LCF-class frigates have Oto's 127-mm. Compatto gun mount as the primary gun system.

For these last gun systems, Oto Melara is working with the Dutch and Italian navies to develop the new Vulcano family of extended-range, precision-guided 127-mm. (5-inch) munitions. This should enable warships armed with 127-mm. guns to engage precision targets over 100 km inland.

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