OTO Melara 76 mm
|OTO Melara 76 mm|
The OTO Melara 76mm Super Rapid as mounted in a stealth cupola (to reduce Radar cross-section) onboard the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen.
|Place of origin||Italy|
|In service||1964 - present|
|Used by||See users|
Super Rapid: 1985
|Manufacturer||Oto Melara: 1963–2001
Otobreda (subsidiary of Finmeccanica): since 2001
Super Rapid: 1988
|Weight||Empty: 7.5 tonnes (17,000 lb)|
|Barrel length||62 caliber: 4,724.4 mm (186.00 in)|
12.34 kilograms (27.2 lb)
|Caliber||76.2 mm (3.00 in)|
speed: 35°/s (acceleration: 72°/s²)
speed: 60°/s (acceleration: 72°/s²)
|Rate of fire||Compact: 85 rounds/min
Super Rapid: 120 rounds/min
|Muzzle velocity||905 m/s (2,970 ft/s)|
|Maximum firing range||
HE-PFF 16,000 m SAPOMER 20,000 m
|Feed system||Magazine capacity:
80 ready rounds on Compact gun mount
The OTO Melara 76 mm gun is a naval artillery piece built and designed by the Italian defence company Oto Melara. It is based on the Oto Melara 76/62C and evolved toward 76/62 SR and 76/62 Strales. The Oto Melara 76 mm Compatto cannon system is compact enough to be installed on relatively small warships, like corvettes, avisos (a vessel somewhere between a corvette and a patrol boat), or patrol boats. The gun's high rate of fire and availability of specialised ammunition make it well-suited to varied roles such as short-range anti-missile point defence, anti-aircraft, anti-surface, and ground support. Specialised ammunition includes armour piercing, incendiary, directed fragmentation effects, and a guided round marketed as capable of destroying manoeuvring anti-ship missiles. A stealth cupola is now offered.
The OTO Melara 76 mm has been widely exported, currently in use internationally by 60 navies. It has recently been favoured over the French 100mm naval gun for the joint French/Italian Horizon-class frigate project and FREMM frigate. On 27 September 2006 Iran announced it has started mass production of a marine artillery gun, named the Fajr-27, which is a reverse-engineered Oto Melara 76 mm gun.
- Cooling: sea water—fresh water for flushing
- Electrical Power supply
- 440 V, 3-phase, 60 Hz, main circuit;
- 115 V, 1-phase, 400 Hz, servo and synchro network
Developed in the early 1980s (and sometimes called the "Super Rapido"), this variant is the up-to-date development of rapid fire Italian 76 mm naval cannons, capable of firing an increased 120 rounds per minute. The Super Rapid's higher rate of fire was achieved by designing a faster feed system.
These new improvements led to the Italian Navy preferring the Super Rapido with Strales System and DART ammunition to the Fast Forty 40 mm CIWS, in the anti-missile defence role, being capable of countering several subsonic missiles from 6,000 to 1,000 meters away. DART 76m had a longer range than other CIWS, but the Italian navy wanted an even longer range weapon.
The Durand de la Penne class was initially planned to carry four 40 mm Fast Forty dual turrets, but they were replaced by three 76 mm Super Rapido turrets. The longer range means one single gun can engage more than one missile in a single engagement, and minimises the danger posed by fragments and splinters if a missile is destroyed close to the ship. The 76 mm was also capable of being used versus surface targets, being a medium caliber gun with relatively long range.
To provide multiple roles for the gun, OTO provides the user with wide ranges of specialised ammunition:
- HE standard (all models): weight 6.296 kg, range 16 km, effective 8 km (4 km vs. air targets at 85°)
- MOM: developed by OTO (Multirole OTO Munition)
- PFF: anti-missile projectile, with proximity fuse and tungsten cubes
- SAPOM: 6.35 kg (0.46 kg HE), range 16 km (SAPOMER: 20 km) semi-armoured piercing
- DART: guided shells for anti-aircraft manoeuvring targets
- Vulcano: 5 kg, maximum range around 40 km (it is a smaller version of the 127 mm Vulcano)
Fire control system
There were evolutions in the gun's fire control systems as well. The early versions (Compatto) utilised radars such the RTN-10X Orion (made by Selenia, now Selex);
From the early 1980s there was a more powerful and flexible system, the RTN-30X (used with the Dardo-E CIWS system and known within Italian Navy as SPG-73), that was capable to manage both guns (40,76 and 127 mm calibres) and missiles (Sea Sparrow-Aspide). This system came in service with the Italian Navy, on the cruiser Garibaldi (C551: the RTN-30X entered in service first with Maestrale-class frigates, but the Dardo 40 mm turret were slaved to the smaller and older RTN-20X radars), but still with the twin 40 mm Dardo's turrets; while the first ship equipped with Dardo E and 76 mm Super Rapido was the upgraded Audace-class destroyers, later followed by the Durand de la Penne class. The 76/62 has also been used with countless other fire control systems, when not being used in the Italian fleet.
There have been many developments in the fuses, essential to shoot down low-flying missiles. The best fuse developed for the 76/62 guns is arguably the 3A-Plus programmable multi-role fuse, manufactured by Oto Melara and Simmel Difesa, introduced in the early 2000s. This fuse requires the installation of a fuse programmer in the mount.
The programmable multi-role fuse offers the user different modes for excellent flexibility, including a time mode for air burst; proximity mode: including Gated Proximity, Anti-Missile Proximity, Conventional Air Defence Proximity and Anti-Surface Proximity Modes; and several different impact modes: including Delayed Impact.
The system includes a DSP which rejects ground/sea clutter and makes the fuse capable of detecting a missile flying as low as two meters above sea level. It has the capability to recognise a target at a 10 meter stand-off. In all, the fuse greatly increases the effectiveness of the gun when engaging anti-ship missiles.
Since the 1980s efforts were made for development of guided 76 mm ammunition, but this was not achieved until recently. The first such ammunition was the CCS (Course Corrected Shell), also known as 'CORRETTO'; a joint program of OTO and British Aerospace. Work started in 1985. The projectile had several small rockets in order to deviate the trajectory. Radio commands were sent from the ship FCS. The FCS did not know the exact position of the projectile, only that of the target. This system was too complex and unreliable, so OTO studied another development in order to obtain a real 'guided ammunition'.
The result of this development is a system which was called DAVIDE just for the Italian market and STRALES for export purposes while the fired guided ammunition is called DART(Driven Ammunition Reduced Time of flight).
The DART projectile is similar in many aspects to other hyper-velocity systems, for example the Starstreak SAM missile's multi-dart warhead, but is a guided gun projectile with radio controls and a proximity fuse for low level engagement (up to 2 meters over the sea). DART is fired at 1,200 m/s (3,900 ft/s), can reach 5 km range in only 5 seconds, and can perform up to 40 manoeuvres. The DART projectile is made of two parts: the forward is free to rotate and has two small canard wings for flight control. The aft part has the 2.5 kg warhead (with tungsten cubes and the 3A millimetric wave new fuse), six fixed wings and the radio receivers.
The guidance system is Command Line of Sight (CLOS). It uses a TX antenna installed on gun. The radio-command for them is provided on a broadcast data-link (Ka Band).
The first lot of DART/STRALES 76mm guided ammunition, produced by OTO Melara, was successfully tested at the end of March, 2014. The firing trials were conducted on board one of the Italian Navy’s ships equipped with Strales 76mm SR and Selex NA25 fire control system. The first firing trials of the DART (Driven Ammunition Reduced Time of flight) ammunition bought by Colombia in 2012, were successfully conducted in the Caribbean Sea on August 29 from the 76/62 Strales inner-layer defence system fitted to its modernised FS 1500 Padilla-class frigates.
The more recent development is the VULCANO 76 ammunition system. Basically, it is a scaled down version of the 127–155 mm Vulcano family of extended-range projectiles developed by Oto Melara; guided by Inertial Navigation System and Global Positioning Systems, it is capable of hitting targets twice the distance of normal 76 mm gun ammunition. GPS-IMU guidance and IR or SALT Terminal sensor 
Most of the basic ammunition types offered for the Oto Melara 76mm can also be fired from the South African Rooikat armoured car with slight modification to the percussion primers. This is the only land-based vehicle system capable of deploying the same ammunition as its naval counterpart.
Platforms using the Oto-Melara 76 mm include:
- SIGMA 9814 corvette - 1 x 2
- Kolkata-class destroyer - 1 x 3
- Godavari-class frigate - 1 x 3
- Brahmaputra-class frigate - 1 x 3
- Shivalik-class frigate -
- Kora-class corvette -
- Kamorta-class corvette -
- Veer-class corvette -
- Hatsuyuki-class destroyer
- Asagiri-class destroyer
- Murasame-class destroyer
- JDS Ishikari
- Yubari-class destroyer escort
- Abukuma-class destroyer escort
- Hayabusa-class patrol boat
- Ulsan-class frigate - 2 x 9
- Pohang-class corvette
- Donghae-class corvette
- Gumdoksuri-class patrol vessel
- Endurance-class landing platform dock
- Formidable-class frigate
- Victory-class corvette
- Fearless-class patrol vessel
- Pattani-class offshore patrol vessel
- Ratanakosin-class corvette
- Ratcharit-class missile boat
- Chuburi-class patrol boat
- Tapi-class corvette
- Khamronsin-class corvette
- Doğan-class fast attack craft
- Kılıç-class fast attack craft
- Kılıç-II-class fast attack craft
- Yıldız-class fast attack craft
- G-class frigate
- Milgem-class corvette
- Ambassador MK III Missile Boat
- Descubierta-class corvette - Spanish built, 1 x 2
- Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate
- Ramadan-class missile boat
- Tiger-class fast attack craft
- Gowind 2500 corvette - 1 x 4 
- FREMM multipurpose frigate
- Mohammed VI FREMM frigate - 1 x 1
- Sigma-class frigate 1x3
- Descubierta-class corvette - Spanish built, 1 x 1
- Floréal-class frigate 1 x 2
- Lazaga-class missile boat 1 x 4
- Bir Anzaran-class patrol vessel 1 x 5
- Warrior-class patrol vessel former fast attack craft modified to OPVs - missiles launchers and rear 76mm gun removed.
- Valour-class frigate
- Flyvefisken-class patrol vessel
- Thetis-class ocean patrol vessel
- Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate
- Knud Rasmussen-class patrol vessel
- Brandenburg-class frigate - MEKO design
- Bremen-class frigate - MEKO design
- Sachsen-class frigate - MEKO design
- Braunschweig-class corvette - MEKO design
- Gepard-class fast attack craft
- Elli-class frigate (Kortenaer-class frigate)
- La Combattante IIa-class fast attack craft
- La Combattante III-class fast attack craft
- La Combattante IIIb-class fast attack craft
- Osprey 55-class gunboat
- HSY-55-class gunboat
- Osprey HSY-56A-class gunboat
- Roussen-class fast attack craft
- Jason-class tank landing ship
- Peacock-class patrol vessel
- Róisín-class offshore patrol vessel
- Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel
- Audace-class destroyer (8 guns, all retired)
- Italian aircraft carrier Cavour (2 guns)
- Comandanti class OPV (4 guns)
- Durand de la Penne-class destroyer (6 guns)
- FREMM multipurpose frigate (14 guns)
- Fulmine gunboat (1 gun - the first, prototype -, retired)
- Minerva-class corvette (8 guns, with 4 retired)
- Orizzonte-class frigate (6 guns)
- San Giorgio-class amphibious transport dock (1 gun)
- Sparviero class hydrofoil (7 guns, all retired)
- Santa María-class frigate - 1 x 6
- Descubierta-class corvette - 1 x 6
- Buque de Acción Marítima-class patrol vessel - 1 x 6
- Famous-class cutter (USCG)
- Hamilton-class cutter (USCG)
- Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate (USN)
- Pegasus-class hydrofoil (now de-commissioned) (USN)
- Espora-class corvette - license built MEKO 140 design - 1 x 6
- Intrépida-class fast attack craft - based on the TNC-45 design - 1 x 2
- Karel Doorman-class M-class frigate - 1 x 2
- L-class frigate - 1 x 2
- CNS Almirante Williams 1 x 1
- Sa'ar 4-class missile boat 2 x 3
- Tiger-class fast attack craft 1 x 3 (decommissioned)
- Almirante Padilla-class frigate - modernised with Strales 76 mm and DART guided ammunition - 1 x 4
- "Iran to mass produce new artillery gun". Middle East Online. 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
- Annati, Massimo: La difesa antimissile della MM, RiD magazine, Chiavari, September 2006
- Po, Enrico, April 1997
- Stanglini, Ruggero: Dart/DAVIDE, antimissile, ma non solo, PD Magazine, Ed.ai, Firenze, June 2003
- Annati, Massimo, 2006
- "The Strales 76mm system with DART guided ammunition". 2014-04-18.
- "Colombia conducts first DART firings". 2014-09-17.
- Po, Eugenio: Oto Melara guarda al futuro, RiD Magazine, July 2009
- "Vulcano 76 mm". Oto Melara. 2014-09-17.
- Jane's Armour and Artillery, 2001-2002, Volume 23 p. 244-345.
- "NS Durban to be OPVs home port". DefenceWeb. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
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