Meeting growing demand for products and services worldwide
Late last year, Northrop Grumman expanded its Mesa, AZ-based BUSHMASTER Chain Gun manufacturing facility by moving into a new 36,000-square-feet site, increasing production capacity by co-locating the company’s warehouse and manufacturing operations into one site. Northrop Grumman employs 200 full-time workers, producing the BUSHMASTER family of medium-calibre guns for the US Armed Forces and its allies at this site. Northrop Grumman is on contract to provide its Chain Guns to more than 62 militaries across the globe (including legacy systems), according to Lisa Brown, Vice President Site Operations, Northrop Grumman
Besides manufacturing cannons, Northrop Grumman also offers aftermarket services by providing spare parts, upgrades and maintenance, ranging from on-site services and repairs, to full re-manufacturing capabilities. “Aftermarket support is very important to us,” explains Ms Brown during MONCh’s visit to the Mesa site. “One of our strengths is reliability with the best product on the market.”
To create a greater combat capability for future ground platform systems and upgrades, Northrop Grumman and the US Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) have collaborated to evaluate a 50mm (50x318mm) Chain Gun based on the company’s proven systems, in service worldwide, which range from the Mk52 (7.62mm), M242 (25mm), M230 (30mm x117mm), Mk44 (30mm x 173mm or 40mm x 180) and to the BUSHMASTER III (35x228mm or 50x318mm). This gun is intended for the US Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV), one of the service’s future modernisation priorities, as a replacement for its BRADLEYs.
The industry expert sees further opportunities with her army on the horizon, e.g. “STRYKER up-gun and light-gun ATV variants,” seeing 90% of sales internationally in the next 2-3 years. A main issue remains the Australian Land 400 Phase 3, the replacement of the Australian Army’s M113 armoured personnel carriers (for 450 infantry fighting vehicles and 17 manoeuvre support vehicles). According to Ms Brown Northrop Grumman is the gun of choice with three of the four contenders, bringing the possibility of buiding the guns in Australia.