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US to equip Indian Navy warships with heavy guns

Ships from the Indian Navy, Royal Australian Navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force approach USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) during Malabar 2020. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Markus Castaneda/U.S. Navy)
January 14, 2021

Amid border tensions between two Asian giants, no stone is being left unturned to equip forces with better weapons. On Wednesday, the US formally accepted to deliver India their top of the line Naval guns to install on the Indian Navy’s upcoming class of destroyers and frigates.

Both nations are moving ahead with a plan to respond to urgent needs by using three American Navy inventory caliber guns and installing them on the Indian capital destroyer class, which are under construction. This system to be used in both anti-ship and anti-aircraft roles, according to a report by India Today.

With these three urgently supplied guns, the Indian Navy also sent a formal Letter of Request to a US firm. The American side is now preparing to enter into $600 million contract to deliver 11 new heavy naval guns for 11 warships in the Indian Navy, which are under construction. The first three delivered guns will be fitted on Visakhapatnam class destroyer ships. These guns will be sent by the US Navy’s additional arsenal in reserve, after sealing the deal for 11 new guns and delivering them soon. The newer procured guns will later replace these three artilleries sent by the US Navy.

Currently, Indian Navy has 11 ships under construction and planning includes four heavy destroyers, called Visakhapatnam class, and seven Nilgiri class frigates. These guns will be the new addition into the Indian Navy’s operating platforms. For years, both the US and India closely worked on strategic scale of military relations. The Indian Navy operates the American-made P8i Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft and three are scheduled to be delivered. The Indian Navy will also replace their old Seaking maritime helicopters with US Sikorsky MH-60 Modern helicopters. India is already using two sea guardian drones leased from US General atomics and more drones are being planned.

A 5″/54 caliber Mark 45 gun is manufactured by BAE Systems land & armament a Virginia-based subsidiary of BAE Systems, Inc. Indian Navy could select the Mod 4’s latest variant. The naval gun has the caliber of 127 mm configuration fitted on the Mark 45 mount system, usually installed on the foredeck of capital warships. The gun has the ability to fire 20 rounds per minute at a muzzle velocity of 760m/s at an effective range of 37 km maximum.