Tag Archives: MK75 76mm gun

Battery Free

Official caption: The crew of medium endurance cutter USCGC Northland (WMEC-904) conducts a live firing of the MK 75 76mm weapons system while underway, September 20, 2020, in the Atlantic Ocean. The cutter returned to its homeport of Portsmouth, Virginia, Wednesday after a 47-day patrol conducting counter-drug and migrant interdiction operations in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

(U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo 200920-G-G0105-1003)

Once the standard main gun for all U.S. Navy warships smaller than a destroyer in the 1980s and 90s, the OTO Melera 76mm/62 caliber Super Rapid was at its height carried by 51 Perry-class FFGs, 6 Pegasus-class PHMs, and 25 Coast Guard cutters. The first MK 75 gun produced in the U.S. was delivered in August 1978, with U.S. production handled by FMC.

Today, with the PHMs and FFGs gone, just 13 Bear-class 270-foot cutters such as Northland and two remaining 378-foot Hamiltons are the torch carriers for the system.

Built at the by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company of Tacoma, Washington, Northland was commissioned on December 17, 1984, making her 36 years young in a few weeks.

Weapons free (a little late)

Always nice to see an MK75 76mm OTO Melara guns in action. The U.S. military only has like 15 of these left– all on Coast Guard Cutters. Back in the 1980s, there were nearly 100 of these Italian rapids floating around in the fleet between shoreside spares, 25 cutters, 51 FFG-7s, and six PHMs.

Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane fired a commemorative shot Thursday to honor the 158th anniversary of its namesake’s action near Fort Sumter

Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane fired a commemorative shot Thursday to honor the 158th anniversary of its namesake’s action near Fort Sumter, 30 May 2019. Although the anniversary was actually in April, Lane was in the midst of an 80-day patrol and thus out of pocket. She caught Charleston on the way back home to Virginia (USCG Photo)

From the Coast Guard (bold mine):

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane fired a commemorative shot Thursday to honor the 158th anniversary of its namesake’s action near Fort Sumter.

On April 11, 1861, United States Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane made history by firing the first naval shot of the Civil War. Cutter Lane fired across the bow of the merchant steamship Nashville. Nashville was attempting to enter Charleston Harbor without displaying a flag indicating its nationality. Congress merged the Revenue Cutter Service with the United States Lifesaving Service in 1915 to form today’s United States Coast Guard.

The cutter Harriet Lane, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter, is returning to its homeport of Portsmouth, Virginia after conducting a successful 80-day counter-narcotics patrol of the Caribbean Sea. The cutter saved the lives of two mariners in distress, conducted several boardings on the high seas, and seized 2,069 pounds of cocaine valued at $27 million.

Of note, we covered the original Harriett Lane, a very active steam powered Revenue Cutter that saw lots of Civil War service, in a past Warship Wednesday. 

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.