British Navy HMS Lancaster frigate has extra firepower with new 12.7mm machine guns

According to news published by the British Navy on February 9, 2021, the HMS Lancaster, a Duke-class Type 23 frigate of the Royal British Navy is equipped with extra firepower including .50 12.7mm heavy machine guns that were fitted during a spell alongside in Portsmouth.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 A British sailor fires with the new .50 heavy machine gun mounted on the HMS Lancaster frigate. (Picture source British Navy)

This week, the crew of the HMS Lancaster frigate conducts this week live-firing exercise with the new 12.7mm machine gun. Multiple rounds were fired at various angles and in various directions from the bridge wing mountings to ensure the weapon was safe and the gunnery team can handle it – and can use it in anger if necessary.

The M2 heavy machine gun also called Browning .50 is one of the most popular weapons in the world. The machine gun has been used extensively as a vehicle weapon and for aircraft armament by the United States from the 1930s to the present. It also used onboard warships against attacks of small boats and aerial targets.

In The British armed forces, the .50 is also mounted of combat vehicles and onboard Wildcat and Merlin helicopters when they are providing air cover or hunting down smugglers. The Browning M2 is an air-cooled, belt-fed machine gun. The M2 fires from a closed bolt operated on the short recoil principle. The M2 fires the .50 BMG cartridge, which offers long-range, accuracy, and immense stopping power.

The early M2 water-cooled AA guns had a cyclical rate of around 450–600 rpm. The machine gun has an effective range of 1,830 meters and a maximum effective range of 2,000 meters when fired from a tripod.

The HMS Lancaster is a Duke-class Type 23 frigate in service with the British Royal Navy that was launched in May 1990. She underwent a life extension refit (LIFEX) at HMNB Devonport from 2017 to 2019 which included fitting the Artisan 3D radar, Sea Ceptor anti-air missiles, and strengthening the backbone of the ship. 

The HMS Lancaster frigate is armed with 32-cell GWS.26 VLS canisters able to launch Sea Ceptor air defense missiles, two quad Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers two twins 12.75 in (324 mm) Sting Ray torpedo tubes, one BAE 4.5-inch Mk 8 naval gun, two 30 mm DS30M Mk2 guns, or, two 30 mm DS30B automatic cannons, two Miniguns, General-purpose 7.62mm machine gun and now .50 heavy machine guns.

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