Home Americas Canadian Surface Combatants getting Leonardo’s Vulcano LW guns

Canadian Surface Combatants getting Leonardo’s Vulcano LW guns

127/64 Lightweight (LW) naval gun
Photo: Leonardo

Italian defense company Leonardo announced on April 22 it was awarded a contract by Lockheed Martin Canada to deliver four OTO 127/64 Lightweight (LW) Vulcano naval guns for the Canadian Surface Combatant program.

The order includes the automatic ammunition handling system (AAHS) as an optional solution for the new Royal Canadian Navy ships, which will be built by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. at the Halifax shipyard in Nova Scotia.

The first three systems will be installed on-board the new naval units, while the fourth will be used for training activities. The CSC program’s aim is the construction of 15 advanced and multi-mission combat ships as part of the broader National Shipbuilding Strategy, a long-term project focusing on the renewal of the entire Canadian fleet.

It is worth noting that Canada opted for the Oto Melara solution, whereas the UK Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy future frigates, which share the design basis with the CSC, will feature BAE Systems Mk 45 Mod 4 naval gun systems.

Vulcano is a collective name for a family of unguided (BER) and guided (GLR) ammunition for the 76mm, 127mm naval guns and 155mm land artillery systems.

The ammunition is conceived to give the 127/54 C and the 127/64 LW Naval Guns the capability to meet any present and future requirement for precision naval fire support and long range engagement of surface targets. Vulcano 127mm BER maintains an anti-air role as well.

Royal Canadian Navy CSC
Lockheed Martin photo of the CSC design

In addition to Leonardo’s announcement on the naval gun contract, France’s MBDA confirmed earlier this week it received an order for the delivery of Sea Ceptor air defense weapon systems for the ships. Using the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) as its effector, Sea Ceptor will perform the close-in air defense system (CIADS) role on-board the new CSC frigates. Sea Ceptor will be integrated with Lockheed Martin Canada’s Combat Management System 330 (CMS 330) as part of a multi-tier air defense capability. The CAMM missiles will be quad packed in Lockheed Martin’s Extensible Launcher System (ExLS), which is part of the Mk41 family of vertical launcher systems.

Canada expects to receive its first CSC ship in late 2020s, with construction on track to start in 2023/2024.

While CSC design specifications are likely to deviate to some extent from the Global Combat Ship design they are based on, the ships could be expected to displace around 7,000 tons and measure close to 150 meters in length. Envisioned as multi-purpose combatants, the ships have an integrated mission bay and hangar, capable of supporting multiple helicopters, UUVs, boats, mission loads and disaster relief stores. According to BAE Systems, the flight deck is capable of landing a Chinook helicopter for transport of embarked forces.