Royal Navy Testing New .50 Caliber Machine Gun Mount

    Agile, Small-deflection, Precision (ASP) during testing aboard HMS Argyll (via Navy Lookout)

    The UK’s Royal Navy have been testing a new mount for their .50 caliber defensive guns. The Agile, Small-deflection, Precision (ASP) is made by Oregon-based Flex Force. The ASP stabilizes the gun using gyroscopic stabilization which will make longer range, more accurate fire in heavy seas possible.

    The Royal Navy uses a variety of smaller weapons to defend against small boats ranging from the 7.62x51mm GPMG to the M134 Minigun and the 12.7mm M2 Browning. The Royal Navy has long used the M2 aboard its helicopters and mounted on smaller boats but in recent years it has been added to the close-in defense of larger vessels.

    Navy Lookout shared a video and some images from testing of the ASP mount aboard HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate. Navy Lookout reported that the “trials team fired 5,000 x .5 calibre rounds. 3,500 fired using the new mounting for comparison with old mount.”

    Leading Seaman Smith. who got behind the gun, said: “once I got used to it, the concept is very straight-forward. I found the ability to acquire targets a lot easier and more precise with the joystick on the mount itself. With the mount stabilising itself it allowed us to give a longer, more accurate burst of fire which enables us to eliminate threats quicker and at greater ranges”

    Agile, Small-deflection, Precision (ASP) (Flex Force)

    The Flex Force ASP weighs between 115-155 lbs depending on the weapon which is mounted, it has a 350° traverse and a -20° to +60° elevation. Depending on the model it can also include low light and thermal systems as well as a range finder, target tracker and a ballistic computer.

    Flex Force describe the ASP mount:

    The ASP combines the accuracy of a remote weapon station with the situational awareness and rapid target acquisition of a manual mount, creating the most effective small arms mount ever built. Radically increase operational effectiveness and decrease target acquisition time with ASP’s increased precision, increased lethality, and decreased Total Cost of Ownership. Can deliver 10X more rounds on target for a fraction of the cost of larger, more complex systems. The ASP is available in crew-served; crew and remote; and remote control only configurations for 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and 12.7mm calibers.

    The Royal Navy’s testing was carried out at ranges at Aberporth in Cardigan Bay and saw the ASP mounted .50 caliber Browning firing at both static and moving radio-controlled boat targets. The Argyll also recently took part in autonomous vessels trials. The trials of the mount were funded by the UK’s Defence Innovation Fund and organised by NavyX the Royal Navy’s innovation team, with support from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). Lieutenant Commander Steve Lovatt said “we are using the trial analysis to seek future investment as part of our force protection capability. We’ve been impressed by the results and it demonstrates the important work of NavyX to rapidly trial new technology with immediate in-service benefit.”

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]