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Russian Navy ships to receive advanced 76-mm AK-176MA naval gun systems.

| 2016
Naval Forces News - Russia
Russian Navy ships to receive advanced 76-mm AK-176MA naval gun systems
The Russian Navy’s guided missile corvettes and boats will be equipped with the 76-mm AK-176MA automatic gun featuring high rate of fire, according to the Izvestia newspaper.

The Russian Navy has decided to have all of its guided missile corvettes and boats equipped with the unique 76-mm AK-176MA automatic gun, which accuracy is as high as that of sniper rifles owing to its digital controls and all-weather electro-optical system. Interestingly, depending on the type of a ship, both the ordinary spherical turret and the stealthy multifaceted one can house the cutting-edge product of the Arsenal Design Bureau. The latter turret is invisible to enemy radars owing to its angular shape.
AK 176MA naval gun
Computer rendering of AK-176MA 76mm naval gun system
The primary decision to select the sophisticated AK-176MA as main artillery armament of all littoral ships and guided missile corvettes and boats has been made in the summer this year, an officer with the Russian Navy Main Staff told the Izvestia daily. The Navy, United Shipbuilding Corporation and Industry and Trade Ministry are waiting for the completion of the AK-176MA’s tests to finalize the decision by signing relevant documents. Hopefully, they will have gone through formalities before the end of the year. To date, the gun has been integrated with the weapons suites of the Project 22800 Karakurt-class missile corvette and Project 1241 (NATO reporting name: Tarantul-class) missile boat.

Arsenal Design Bureau Director General Alexander Milkovsky told the Izvestia that the weapon’s development has advanced far enough.

"Yes, there has been progress made in this field, but I have not seen the [aforesaid] resolution yet, unfortunately," he explained to the Izvestia.

The AK-176MA is a successor to the AK-176 family of naval rapid-fire guns, the first of which entered service as far back as 1979. Weighing 10 tons, the latest gun can put at least 150 projectiles on target in 1 min., with the target sitting 15 km away. The AK-176MA’s features setting it apart from its predecessors are its digital control system and Sfera-2 cutting-edge optronic station acquiring targets at a range of tens of kilometers round the clock, in driving rain and even in a storm.

The gun’s traverse and elevation drives, which turn the turret left or right and elevate or decline the gun itself, have a digital data system enabling the gun mount to move with high precision upon receipt of commands of the gunner or the ship’s action data system, a Russian Navy officer familiar with the weapon’s performance told the Izvestia daily. A combination of the sophisticated naval gun’s high ballistic characteristics and electronic control system affords the AK-176MA complete superiority over its closest competition - the 76-mm gun from Italy’s Oto Melara, equipping warships in service with more than two dozen navies.

According to expert Vladimir Shcherbakov, 76-mm ship-borne automatic guns are, essentially, versatile weapons capable of handling a broad range of threats.

"They engage both enemy ships and aircraft, including drones. They can be used effectively against land targets as well, including those far enough from the coastline,"
Vladimir Shcherbakov said.

The AK-176MA is being tested on the Russian Border Guard’s Polyarnaya Zvezda patrol ship - the Project 22100 Okean-class lead ship earmarked for delivery before the end of the year.

The firing tests have proven the advanced gun’s performance to meet the requirements specification, a shipbuilding official told the Izvestia. The Polyarnaya Zvezda and follow-on ships in the class will mount AK-176MAs in classic spherical turrets, because radar stealth is not that important to them. At the same time, the Project 22800 missile corvettes will carry these guns in multifaceted turrets configured to deflect electromagnetic waves.

According to the Izvestia’s source, the superstructure and guns generate most of a ship’s radar returns. Due to their shapes and rich metal content, they often constitute the main signature when illuminated by enemy radars. Therefore, the AK-176MA’s multifaceted turret will guarantee the stealth of the ships mounting it to hostile radars, according the Izvestia daily.

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