Iran’s Defense Ministry today launched a warship cannon production line to produce 40-mm naval canons with the optimal range of 12 km (more than seven miles). The Fath 40 canon is designed as an anti-cruise missile weapon.
"The Fath 40-millimetre naval cannon has the optimal range of 12 kilometers and shoots 300 projectiles per minute and can be used against cruise missiles," Iran's Defense Minister Mohammad Mostafa Najjar said. “This weapon is an anti-aircraft low-altitude weapon and is used on warships.” [Fars News Agency, 24 May 2009].
No independent verification of Gen. Najjar’s comments was available.
This is a curious move.
This is kind of wonkish, but Iran purchased 35mm guns from Switzerland back in the 1970s. In the 80s Iran came under an arms embargo that forced it to begin producing its own ammunition. It would seem to make more sense to build a gun that could make use of their existing ammunition production facilities but the modern trend is to produce exotic electronically-fused rounds. It's possible that the Iranian developers felt it would be easier to do this in a slightly larger caliber.
No details are offered as to how the new gun works, but since the cyclic rate is basically identical to the Bofors 40/70 (which is now produced by BAE) it can be presumed to be similar. Why reinvent the wheel, after all?
It is understandable that Iran felt the need to develop its own ordnance. Russia no longer makes a gun between 30mm and 57mm and China's weapon in this range is a licensed copy of the Oerlikon 35mm, which they cannot export without permission. Such permission would certainly be denied in the case of Iran.
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