Royal Navy gunners have given their approval to a new gun mounting tested on HMS Argyll to destroy small, fast-moving targets.
The gunnery trials tested the weapon's ability against small targets – like speedboats and jet skis – which are hard to hit, even with the numerous small arms fitted to Navy ships.
The .50 calibre heavy machine-gun, known as the '50 cal', is among the most potent weapons gunners can bring to bear, so when a potentially improved mounting was developed for it, the Navy's tech specialists wanted to test it.
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Known as the ASP (agile, small-deflection, precision) mounting, it was tested on the ranges at Aberporth in Cardigan Bay, Wales, by the Plymouth-based warship.
This saw gunners taking aim against both a static target and a moving radio-controlled target boat.
During a week of trials, the team put down nearly 5,000 .50 calibre rounds – 3,500 fired using the new mounting, and 1,450 from a heavy machine-gun on a traditional 'soft' mounting to allow for comparisons.
They conducted more than three dozen shoots in different scenarios and weather conditions to give both mountings a comprehensive workout.