Tag Archive | mk 75 gun

Celebrating 40 years of OTO in the U.S.

Here we see the aftermath of a recent U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba shootex with her Mk75 gun making a mess of things.

The gun uses a saltwater cooling system and a freshwater cleaning run after firing concludes

Essentially the OTO Melara Compact, this rapid-fire 76mm multi-purpose gun (word on the street when talking to a former GMGC who worked on them on FFG7s that they could even do NGFS if you tweaked the Mk92 FCS right) came about in 1963. In August 1978, almost as an afterthought, the U.S. Navy started picking them up for use as the main gun on the Oliver Hazard Perry-class FFGs, a line of tin cans meant to rely principally on their LAMPS helicopter system and Mk 13 one-armed bandit missile launcher.

100713-N-7643B-046 SOUTH CHINA SEA (July 13, 2010) A 76 mm gun is fired from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mellon (WHEC 717) while cruising in formation with U.S. and Republic of Singapore Navy ships during a surface gunnery exercise as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore 2010. CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance force readiness. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David A. Brandenburg/Released)

Eventually, the Navy used them on 51 Perrys, 6 Pegasus PHMs (fun boats), and 25 1980s produced/refitted Coast Guard Cutters as well as a number of domestically-produced FMS ships for allies (Israel’s Sa’ar corvettes, Egypt’s Ambassador MK III class FACs et. al). With the last Perry retired from US service– USS Simpson (FFG-56)– was decommissioned on 29 September 2015, and the PHMs long since retired, the only user of the MK75 in U.S service is the shrinking Hamilton-class 378-foot high endurance cutters [USCGC Sherman (WHEC-720) decommissioned in March and transferred to the Sri Lanka Navy last month, leaving just Mellon (WHEC-717) and Midgett (WHEC-726) in U.S. service] and the 13 270-foot Bear-class medium endurance cutters, of which Escanaba is an example.

A recent Mk75 change out on USCGC Thetis (WMEC-910)

On the world scene, the OTO Compact was replaced in production by the Super Rapid after 1985 and, since 2004, as the Leonardo Strales in a stealth cupola as mounted on new ships such as the Norwegian frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen.

The 76/62 Super Rapid as it looks today in more up-to-date mountings. This gun fires at 120rpm rather than the Mk75/Compact’s more sedate 80.

As noted by the Navy: The U.S. Navy is no longer acquiring Mark 75 guns but has logistics support contracts with BAE systems and OTO Melara. As the new Offshore Patrol (Heritage-class) cutters are equipped with the same 220 rpm Bofors 57 mm gun as mounted on the USN’s Littoral combat ships and the USCG’s Legend class cutters, the MK75 is likely to be retired in US service sometime in the 2030s when the final 270s are put to pasture after 50 years of service.

I yam what I yam

Here we see the Mk 75 Oto Melera Super Rapid Mount on the Boston-based USCGC Spencer (WMEC-905).  These Italian-designed 76mm/62cal guns were made under license in the U.S. starting in 1978 by FMC Naval Systems Division and went on to arm the 51 Perry-class frigates and half-dozen Pegasus-class PHMs of the Navy as well as the 25 Medium (270′) and High (378′, replacing 5″ Mk38 guns) Endurance cutters of the Coast Guard.

76mm popeye gun on USCGC SPENCER (WMEC-905

Spencer ran her mount with Popeye in the 1990s…

As you will note, the mount carries a great Popeye logo, complete with 76mm shells and dope leaf tattoos.

You should well remember that ‘Pop was a Coastie from way back in the rumrunner days…

popeye coast guard station

However, in recent years, Spencer has scrubbed the Spinach-eating icon from their forward mount, and it is more ship-shape today.

US Coast Guard Cutter Spencer

BTW, what is up with those wonky hull numbers? Deck Division! Come on…

Now, the Coast Guard is the lantern holder for the Mk 75 platform, with the USN formally ditching the Perrys and PHMs long ago.

Currently the USCG has less than 20~ platforms still carrying the now-legacy Carter-era guns, which are kept running by BAE Systems. Those will eventually be retired as the new Offshore Patrol Cutter program comes online in the next decade. Likely replaced by the current standard Mk 110 57mm Bofors popgun.

However, you can be sure there will be GMG shenanigans with these 76mm’s until that day.

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