Coast Guard gets quiet upgrade
The M242 Bushmaster has been around since 1972. The 25mm cannon is a beast and was fielded for the Army’s M2/M3 IFV/CFV and the Marines’ LAV-25 recon vehicle.
By 1986, the Navy started fielding the gun as an open, crew-served mount to replace the 1950s-era Mk16 20mm cannon. This mount, designated the Mk38 Mod 0, is akin to the Mk16, the old WWII Oerlikon 20mm it replaced, and the Hotchkiss cannon that came before it going back to the 1880s.
And the Coast Guard, who get their guns from big blue, was along for the ride. When the new 110-foot Island-class cutters came out in the mid-1980s, they got the Mk38 up front after a time. When the 210-foot Reliance-class cutters went in for their SLEP mid-life refit in the early 1990s, they lost their 3″/50s that dated back to WWII and came out with Mk38.
The gun is still used a lot as you can see from this image of a 210 performing a gun evolution.
The thing is, the old Mod 0 mount is a mother to hit anything accurately out to range, especially when in any sort of sea state.
That’s where the Mod 2 (Typhoon) variant, which takes the man out of the mount in favor of being remotely operated from CIC and includes an Electronic Optical Sight, Laser Range-Finder, FLIR. It also has a more reliable feeding system, enhancing the weapon systems capabilities and accuracy.
There is a laser range finder that seeks out targets and once engaged the operator can switch to one of five modes; Single, Low Burst (three rounds at 100 rounds per minute), High (five rounds at 180 per minute), Low Continuous (100 per minute for as long as the trigger is engaged), and High Continuous (180 rounds per minutes for as long as the trigger is engaged– as the mount generally holds 200 rounds, you get the idea).
USS Princeton (CG-59) was the first ship to have this weapon system permanently installed. Tests on Princeton demonstrated a very robust capability during day and night tracking and firing on a high speed maneuvering surface target (HSMST). During the live fire against the HSMST, the system gained a kill of the target at more than twice the range of the current Mod 1 gun. Other tests have shown a two to three fold increase in Probability of Hit (POH) versus the Mod 1.
It should be noted that the USCG’s new 154-foot Sentinel-class cutters are rocking the Mod 2, bringing more effective firepower to the fleet than the 210-foot cutters they are supplementing.
Seen here on the newest Fast Response Cutter USCGC Rollin Fitch WPC-119, that haze gray does contrast with the cutter’s white scheme.
Don’t be surprised to see the 154s pop up in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea as needed. The Navy’s 170-foot Cyclones are getting a bit long in the teeth.