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Naval version of Nexter & Thales RapidFire 40mm gun system to equip future French Navy vessels


The RAPIDFire 40mm gun system developed by the consortium formed by Thales and Nexter has been chosen by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) to equip future French Navy vessels with new artillery. This new innovative and versatile close-in weapon system will provide the Navy’s surface vessels with an effective close-in defence capability against modern air and surface threats.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The naval version of the Rapidfire 40mm gun system. (Picture source Thales & Nexter)


French companies Nexter and Thales formed a temporary consortium for RAPIDFire 40mm automatic cannon as part of a work program and roadmap put in place 10 years ago. The program is currently in the development phase. When development is complete, the weapon systems will enter production, and the first delivery is scheduled for 2022.

The RapidFire 40mm cannon was developed in a surface-to-air approach allowing use at sea but also from land, the project also provides an option to prepare for future use on land carriers. RAPIDFire, a true joint solution, will thus be a gun system capable of equipping naval, land and air forces.

Naval forces are exposed to several threats with complex behaviours, such as unmanned air and surface vehicles, light aircraft and missiles. RAPIDFire leverages the combined expertise of Thales and Nexter to meet the very short-range defence requirements of the armed forces. The solution features a latest-generation multi-threat (air and surface), multi-environment (land and naval) gun system, with a cost of engagement commensurate with the value of the threats.

RAPIDFire is a gun system that offers high precision thanks to its optronic fire control system integrated onto the turret, its advanced algorithms, powerful gun and automatic ammunition management system allowing the best reactivity and efficiency for the operator. RAPIDFire incorporates the new reference medium calibre 40 mm gun developed by CTAI, the international subsidiary of Nexter Systems and BAE Systems. The system is compatible with the full range of ammunitions developed for land forces programs and is predisposed to the use of future ammunition as the smart Anti Aerial Airburst (A3B) round.