USS Kidd First Destroyer to Employ Improved Gun System

USS Kidd (DDG 100) conducted the first firing of the Mark 38 (Model 2) 25mm Machine Gun System (MGS) from a guided missile destroyer Oct. 9 during multi-ship live firing exercises off the coast of Southern California.

Coordinated by Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, the exercise employed ships and their embarked helicopters to simulate an escalating surface threat environment requiring the use of main gun systems as well as minor-caliber defenses.

Following strafing runs by MH-60Rs helicopters from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, Kidd and USS Preble (DDG 88) engaged ex-tug YFRT-520 with their five-inch gun systems and small arms fire before Kidd fired the Mark 38, achieving numerous hits at extended ranges.

“The Mark 38 Mod. 2 performed beyond expectations. Video from the optical sights indicated that the 25mm rounds were consistently on target at ranges beyond the capability of manually-aimed minor caliber weapons,” said Capt. Kerry Gilpin, commander, DESRON 21.

The Mark 38 Mod 2 is already installed on many guided missile cruisers, providing several tactical advantages over its predecessor. Compared with the manually trained and aimed model 1, the model 2 provides a stabilized, optically sighted minor caliber gun system that improves hit potential against all threats, particularly small and fast maneuvering targets. It also adds a double ammunition feed system, enabling the operator to switch between two different ammunition types at will.

The dedicated sensor package includes a day-use electro-optical magnified camera, forward-looking infrared camera and eyesafe laser rangefinder. These sights help to ensure 360-degree coverage for surface contact identification, night vision and periscope detection.

Cmdr. Chuck Good, Kidd’s commanding officer, is impressed with the initial performance, ease of use and low maintenance requirements thus far.

“We like it. Seeing how effective it was during the firing exercise boosted the crew’s confidence in the lethality of our defensive systems,” said Good. “We feel a lot better preparing to deploy knowing that we now have a solid close-in anti-surface defense.”

USS Kidd is currently participating in a Composite Training Unit Exercise with the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group in preparation for her maiden deployment.

Alexis Steele (NNS)

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