British Navy tests new .50 machine gun mounting system ASP

According to information published by the Royal British Navy on November 19, 2021, British Navy sailors from HMS Argyll Type 23 Duke-class frigate have tested a new gun mounting system ASP (Agile, Small-deflection, Precision) armed with a .50 heavy machine gun.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 British navy sailor fires burst using gun mounting system ASP (Agile, Small-deflection, Precision) armed with a .50 heavy machine gun. (Picture source British Royal Navy)

The British Royal Navy HMS Argyll frigate served as the testbed for a week of gunnery trials against small targets – speedboats, jet skis, and the like – which are hard to hit, even with the panoply of small arms fitted to RN ships.

The .50 caliber heavy machine gun is among the most potent weapons gunners can bring to bear, so when a potential improved mounting was developed for it, the Navy’s tech specialists, NavyX, wanted to test it.

Known as the ASP – Agile, Small-deflection, Precision – mounting, it was tested on the ranges at Aberporth in Cardigan Bay by the Plymouth-based warship with gunners taking aim against both a static target and a moving radio-controlled target boat.

Over a week of trials, the team put down nearly 5,000 .5 caliber rounds – 3,500 fired using the new mounting, 1,450 from a heavy machine-gun on a traditional ‘soft’ mounting to allow for comparisons. They conducted more than three dozen gunnery shoots in different scenarios and weather conditions to give both mountings a comprehensive workout.

Seven of Argyll’s ship’s companies were taught how to fire a .50 cal loaded onto the new mount. They found it easy to use – and their gunnery improved as the trials went on.

The data from the trials, funded by the Defense Innovation Fund, run by the Royal Navy’s innovation experts NavyX and supported by the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, will be analyzed to determine whether the mount would benefit the Fleet.