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Anchored in History

Bringing You Some of Our Brightest Maritime Moments

Anchored in History:
50 Maritime Facts

This year the Navy League is celebrating its 50th Sea-Air-Space Exposition with the show theme of “50 Years of Maritime Excellence & Innovation.” Inspired by the reminiscent nature of this year’s show, we too decided to explore our maritime past. But what’s the past without the present and future?

Every week leading up to Sea-Air-Space, we’ll present you with a slew of our most interesting facts that highlight our maritime past, present, and future, in no particular order. Be sure to check back each week to see what facts we have in store for you.

USS Missouri

Fact 50: Our Hyper Velocity Projectile is a next-generation, GPS-guided projectile that is compatible with existing 5-inch and 155-mm gun systems, as well as future railguns. This technology is truly the next evolutionary step in providing an affordable, precise, multi-mission capability for multiple gun platforms.

Advanced Gun System

Fact 49: Each Advanced Gun System (AGS) magazine is the size of a two-car garage. Due to its size, it not only requires the largest machine tool in the U.S., but it can only be shipped by barge from the factory to the shipyard. But don’t be fooled; our AGS is designed to be stealthy, with the entire length of the barrel enclosed within the weather shields.

Fact 48:
In the last 20 years, we’ve performed repair, maintenance, and modernization services during more than 300 Cruiser and Destroyer availabilities. That means we’ve performed these services approximately 15 times a year for the last two decades. In case you didn’t know, a ship’s ‘availability’ marks every time the ship is called into a yard for servicing.

Fact 47: The USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) was the first destroyer to get the new and improved Mk 45 Mod 4 naval gun, which is now the standard configuration. In addition to being a vast improvement in electronics over the venerable Mk 45 Mod 2, the Mk 45 Mod 4 can fire projectiles using 50 percent more muzzle energy, resulting in projectiles going farther and faster than ever before.

Assault Amphibious Vehicle AAV
Assault Amphibious Vehicle AAV

Fact 46: In 1942, only two years after our Minneapolis gun plant was built, we celebrated the 500th delivery of our 5-inch gun mount to the U.S. Navy. That’s more than five gun mounts a week!

Fact 45: We are the U.S. Navy's leading C4I integrator for new construction Surface Ships and have integrated C4I systems on more than half of the active ships in the U.S. Navy’s fleet. In fact, we performed C4ISR for 85 percent of the Navy’s Surface Fleet.

Fact 44: We began production of the first Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) in 1941 to support the needs of the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII. At the time, the vehicle was known by its original name, Landing Vehicle Tracked. The Marines renamed it as the AAV in 1984, following a series of upgrades that included an improved engine, transmission, and weapons system as well as improvements to the overall maintainability of the vehicle.

Mk 45 Naval Gun

Fact 43: Since its inception in 1965, our Mk 45 naval gun has undergone four modifications. By its fourth modification, it had increased muzzle energy, extended range munitions, ammunition identification, and a digital control system.

Fact 42: Louisville sluggers aren’t the only precision crafted barrels to come out of Louisville. Our uniquely skilled employees in Louisville, Kentucky, take great pride in machining the barrels and housing systems for the U.S. Navy’s major caliber gun systems. When we say skilled, we mean it. It takes roughly four to five years for a machinist to become proficient in these specialty operations, and it takes about three days to rifle each barrel. They’re truly artisans of defense.

Fact 41: BAE Systems’ Bofors 57Mk1 naval gun was first produced in the mid-1960s, primarily for use by the Swedish Navy to equip smaller coastal patrol and fast attack craft. Today, the system is in use by 14 different countries.

Fact 40: To achieve desired results on a 400x600-meter target, it would take 300 plus ballistic rounds versus 20 Multi-Service Standard Guided Projectiles, with a significantly lower risk of collateral damage.

Fact 39: Our Mk 110 Naval Gun was designed to provide key ship self-protection and attack capabilities, with the ability to engage surface, shore, and air threats. It was also developed to work in concert with other combat systems, to include our Advanced Gun System. Today we’re under contract to deliver 26 Mk 110 guns for U.S. Navy ships, eight of which are currently on commissioned U.S. ships.

ACV Swim Test 2014

Fact 38: For more than 30 years, we’ve provided a range of services to the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Washington; Newport, Rhode Island; and Groton, Connecticut.  Our employees currently assist the Navy in maintaining the operational readiness of submarine torpedoes and other weapon systems.

Fact 37: Our Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) was the first ACV offering to complete a swim test in December 2014. The ACV is intended to replace the Amphibious Assault Vehicle, the Marines current amphibious troop transport vehicle.

Aerial view pier along the San Diego waterfront

Fact 36: We just built a new pier at our San Diego shipyard. The new Pier 4, at 415 feet long and 64 feet wide, replaces a 52-year-old pier and includes new services such as fresh water, electrical, sewage, and storm water containment.

Fact 35: Our naval gun support team is driven by the mission and will do whatever it takes to support the U.S. Navy customer, from the production line to the pier. In the last four years, there have been 242 occasions where the team has provided emergency parts and services for naval gun systems. That means, on average, our team responds to a special U.S. Navy request every six days!

Fact 34: The company’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS®) technology is the only U.S. Department of Defense fully qualified guided 2.75-inch rocket. It uses a unique technology known as a Distributed Aperture Semi Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) to provide 40o instantaneous field of regard for large viewing area to acquire targets. To date, the APKWS rocket has been successfully launched from more than a dozen fixed- and rotary-wing platforms, including the A-10, AH-1, UH-1Y, AH-64 and F-16. The system is currently deployed in-theater, and has seen a 93 percent hit rate.

Dry Dock #1 was heavily used during World War II

Fact 33: Our Electromagnetic Railgun uses high-power electromagnetic energy instead of explosive chemical propellants to launch projectiles farther and faster than any previous system. Using electromagnetic energy, the gun can fire a shell weighing 10kg at up to 5,400mph more than 100 miles — with such force and accuracy that it penetrates three concrete walls or six half-inch thick steel plates.

Fact 32: Our Hyper Velocity Projectile uses high speed and kinetic energy to pierce its target, instead of explosives. This makes it safer to handle and store, eliminating the hazards of explosives in the ship and unexploded ordnance on the battlefield.

Fact 31: Think about the names of the dry docks at our San Francisco shipyard, Dry Dock #2 (56,600 ton lift) and the Eureka Dry Dock (14,500 ton lift). Missing something? Dry Dock #1, although currently obsolete and being scrapped, dates back to the 1940s. In its prime, the 650-foot long dry dock was heavily used to repair ships during WWII.

Fact 30: On December 10, 2010, the U.S. Navy made history at the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Dahlgren Division with the testing of our Laboratory Railgun. A 33-Megajoule shot was fired, the energy equivalent of 110 nmi range. To date, our railgun is the only gun fired at record levels.

Fact 29: We put the canister for the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System on a diet, cutting 1,200 pounds of weight using composite structures. Our teams made this modification realizing that in order to accommodate the increasing weight of weapon systems, the Navy’s ships would need to shed pounds elsewhere. This is just one of the many ways our experts take proactive steps to meet Navy requirements and deliver results through key innovations. We’re also adapting our Mk 38 Fire Control System (FCS) for use on the Mk 110, resulting in an FCS that is half the cost of the Navy’s current system.

Navy E Flag Ceremony

Fact 28: In 1941, due to our Minneapolis team’s success in producing twin gun mounts for the U.S. Navy, we received our first Navy E Flag for engineering and production excellence. Today, our Minneapolis site is one of only eight plants to ever receive the Navy E Award seven times.

Fact 27: We’re purchasing a new dry dock for our San Diego shipyard. The new dry dock will measure 950 feet long and 205 feet wide, with a design lifting capacity of 55,000 tons. When operational in early 2017, it will be the company’s largest dry dock in the United States and will employ several environmental design features, including LED lighting, electric cranes, air-cooled emergency generators, a zero discharge closed-loop salt water system, and storm water recovery systems.

Mk 110

Fact 26: Since its development, BAE Systems’ Bofors 57Mk3 has undergone a series of modifications, including upgrades and improvements that drastically lowered the weight of the system in the 1980s. The most recent version, the 57Mk3, is considered a huge success, largely due to the introduction of our multi-purpose programmable 57mm 3P ammunition (known as Mk 295 ammunition in the United States).

Fact 25:
In addition to the ship repair work we perform for the U.S. Navy, we also have commercial shipbuilding and module fabrication capabilities at our Mobile, Alabama, and Jacksonville, Florida, shipyards. In fact, we frequently dry dock cruise ships that register around 85,900 gross tons for construction, repairs, and conversions.

Fact 24:
In 1965, we began development of the Mk 45 Gun System at our Minneapolis site. The gun was designed to be a lighter weight and more easily maintained replacement for the Mk 42 gun mount, for use against surface warships, anti-aircraft, and shore bombardment to support amphibious operations.

Titan Dry Dock

Fact 23: Our Hyper Velocity Projectile (HVP) is a compact projectile that does not require a rocket engine to reach extended ranges. Its low-drag and aerodynamic design enable high velocity, maneuverability, and decreased time to target. When used with a railgun, the HVP can fire up to 10 rounds per minute.

Fact 22: Our anti-submarine warfare experts are developing a sensor payload for unmanned aircraft that will help the U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon jet detect enemy submarines. The anti-submarine warfare payload will pinpoint submerged submarines by monitoring disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field, using a magnetic anomaly detector.

Fact 21: Our Titan dry dock in Norfolk, Virginia, is 950 feet long, 160 feet wide and has a lift capacity of 52,000 long tons. It is the largest floating dry dock on the east coast of the United States

Fact 20: Our Norfolk Ship Repair team performed the first ever tandem dry docking of two Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers, the USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and the USS Mason (DDG 87), which measure 509 feet long and 60 feet wide.

Fact 19: To date, we have more than 40 years of experience with the Mk 45 naval gun, the U.S. Navy’s primary gun system on board all DDG and CG ships.

Tandem Drydocking
The first ever dual dry docking of two Aegis Guided Missile Destroyers
Mk 45 Mod 4

Fact 18: Our Multi Service-Standard Guided Projectile (MS-SGP) is the most affordable, medium-caliber precision munition to date. When fired from a Mk 45 naval gun, our MS-SGP can reach targets 100 km away.

Fact 17: In addition to providing critical engineering support for the AEGIS system itself, BAE Systems is an industry leader in modernizing the Navy’s fleet of Cruisers and Destroyers equipped with the AEGIS system. With shipyard operations across the country, the company has performed every major type of AEGIS platform modernization.

Fact 16: Ever wonder where the Electromagnetic Railgun gets its name? It’s derived from how the technology works. The revolutionary railgun uses electrical power generated by the ship to create high electrical currents. These currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor between two parallel rails, which create magnetic fields used to launch projectiles.

Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun blast
Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun blast
5-in Standard Guided Projectile (SGP)
5-in Standard Guided Projectile (SGP)

Fact 15: Upon receiving word on a Friday night that the U.S. Navy was sending the USS Bataan, USS Normandy, and other ships to support Haiti earthquake relief, we sent crews to Naval Station Norfolk and worked around the clock to restore the Bataan and Normandy, which were in the middle of a repair availability — both were able to deploy on Monday morning.

Fact 14: Inspired by real combat challenges, the company’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS®) technology was developed to bridge the gap between costly precision munitions, such as Hellfire missiles, and unguided rockets. At one-third the cost and one-third the weight of other precision munitions in inventory, APKWS turns a standard unguided 2.75-inch rocket into a precision laser-guided munition using semi-active laser guidance technology. This cost-effective solution leverages existing infrastructure and inventory, requiring no modifications to the rocket, firing platform, or fire control/launcher system.

Fact 13: Our Louisville site is the only facility in the United States capable of building large caliber naval gun barrels and housing systems. The team here has truly unique standards, with the ability to work with very high engineering and production tolerances that other teams can’t manage.

USS Bataan
USS Normandy

Fact 12: For more than 40 years, our experts have been working side by side with the U.S. Navy to ensure the readiness of its most advanced weapon system, the AEGIS Combat System, which uses state-of-the-art computers and radars to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. Our AEGIS engineers provide critical systems development, integration, engineering, and maintenance support to modernize and strengthen the Navy’s fleet of AEGIS-equipped surface ships. 

Fact 11: We’re investing approximately $100 million in our San Diego shipyard to support the U.S. Navy and its rebalance to the Pacific. The investment will include the purchase of a new dry dock and a range of infrastructure improvements that will complement and expand the shipyard’s existing capacity and provide greater capabilities to our customers.

Planned San Diego Dry Dock

Fact 10: Our Mk 45 is the most widely deployed and supported 5-inch naval gun system in the world, with more than 240 shipboard applications in the U.S. Navy and 10 fleets worldwide.

Fact 9: Our Electromagnetic Railgun can fire a Hyper Velocity Projectile (HVP) at speeds approaching Mach 7 – seven times the speed of sound – and can precisely hit targets more than 100 nmi away. For comparison purposes, the fastest aircraft built in the United States was the SR-71 Blackbird, reaching Mach 3. The Mk 45, the Navy's most widely used gun, has a range of almost 15 nmi when firing conventional ammunition, and 50 nmi when firing the HVP.

Fact 8: We’re setting the pace in naval armament development with our 155-mm Advanced Gun System (AGS) for the U.S. Navy's new DDG 1000 destroyer. The AGS has the first fully automated, unmanned magazine in the U.S. Navy for large caliber guns, and can fire at 10 rounds per minute through the expenditure of the entire magazine.

Fact 7: We have a 70-year history of providing amphibious capabilities to the U.S. Marine Corps, beginning with the earliest version of our Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) during WWII. The AAV’s service continues today, as it remains the amphibious troop transport of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Electromagnetic Railgun

Fact 6: The USS Missouri, or “Mighty Mo,” was the last battleship commissioned by the United States and the site where the Empire of Japan surrendered, ending World War II. Where does BAE Systems come in? We dry docked and restored the historic “Mighty Mo” at our Hawaii shipyard to ensure it remains a functioning memorial site for many years to come.

Fact 5: We are a leading provider of ship repair, maintenance, modernization, conversion, and overhaul for the Navy, other government, commercial, and private customers. With seven full-service shipyards in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia, and Hawaii, we impact the readiness and sustainment of every class of U.S. Navy surface ships.

Fact 4: Did you know BAE Systems’ Bofors 57Mk3 naval gun and our Mk 110 Mod 0 naval gun are closely related? The system is known as the Mk 110 in the United States, and the 57Mk3 elsewhere around the world. The U.S. Navy formally designated the naval gun as the Mk 110 in January 2004 when it announced that the weapon system was officially accepted into service with the U.S. Coast Guard. Since then, it was also independently selected by both Littoral Combat Ship variants for the U.S. Navy.

BAE Systems Bofors 57 mm/70 Mark 2
USS Missouri

Fact 3: We’ve supported the U.S. Navy’s Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missile program for more than 50 years, including through the evolution of the Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident lifecycles.

Fact 2: The first ever dual dry docking of two Aegis Guided Missile Destroyers took weeks of planning, then 19 hours and approximately 160 employees to complete. It began Saturday at 6:00 a.m., and ended Sunday at 1:00 a.m., with both ships “high and dry” and back to back.

Fact 1:
In 1940, our Minneapolis gun mount plant emerged from a cornfield. This plant was built to prepare the U.S. Navy for WWII efforts, and its main responsibility was to turn out 5-inch twin gun mounts for nearly every major warship and auxiliary in the Navy fleet.

Minneapolis gun mount plant