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|Canon de 100mm|
100mm turret on the Lieutenant de vaisseau Lavallée
|Place of origin||France|
Belgium, Portugal, Turkey, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Bulgaria
|Designed||1953 — 1961|
|Produced||1961 — present|
modèle 100 TR
|Weight||22 metric tons|
|Barrel length||55 calibres|
|Crew||2 (modèle 68) ; later version entirely automatic|
|Rate of fire||78 round/min|
|Muzzle velocity||870 m/s|
|Effective firing range||
17,000 m (elevation 40°)
Modern French 100 mm naval guns are multipurpose artillery pieces (anti-air, anti-ship, ground), capable of a high rate of fire. Most modern French warships are/were equipped with one of its versions.
At the end of the Second World War, the French Navy was equipped with guns of numerous calibres, most of which were obsolete. In 1953, the STCAN of Paris, under engineer Tonnelé, drafted the design of a multi-purpose 100 mm gun. The gun was designed to be effective for
The first model of the family, "modèle 53", was tested at sea on the escort Le Brestois in 1958 and the escort aviso Victor Schoelcher in 1961.
The most common version, modèle 68, features a completely automatic action and control. The ammunition is stored in a magazine underneath the turret, and fed to the gun by a lift regularly manned by two crewmen. A flexible pipe allows feeding the gun under any orientation.
Rounds of ammunition are fed automatically; after firing, the empty shell casing is ejected through an evacuation door on the front of the turret. Cooling is provided by water circulating in layers of steel around the tube of the gun, and by an injection of air and water after every shot.
The turret can be used in three modes:
In manual mode, two crewmen serve the turret: the gunner, at the left of the gun, uses a joystick to point the gun, and optic ranging and aiming instruments to direct the fire; the observer monitors the operations from the back of the turret.
Aiming is performed by two electric motors, one for the elevation (left of the turret) and the other for the traverse (right of the turret). Two hydraulic systems feed the gun. The gun can also be moved manually for maintenance.
Since it is usually installed on the bow deck of warships, these turrets are often exposed to breaking waves and humidity. To prevent corrosion and mechanical problems, the turret is made water-tight with rubber joints. The muzzle itself is sealed by a rubber tampion, which can be shot through in case of emergency.
The plexiglas viewbay used to manually aim the gun is usually protected by a steel cover.
Over the years, the 100 mm turret went through several improvements, notably bringing more reliable operation and increased firing rate, new ammunition optimized to shoot down missiles, and compatibility with modern firing computers. Three main versions of French 100mm guns can be cited:
100 mm modèle 53 turret of the Maillé Brézé
100 mm modèle 64 turret of the Clémenceau
100 mm modèle 68 turret on the La Motte-Picquet
The 100 mm gun has been used in the French navy on most warships equal or greater than avisos (the A69 especially, built and exported in 20 units). The Charles de Gaulle, with her MBDA Aster-only defence, is the main exception. Also, the future Horizon CNGF frigates are expected to be equipped with the 76 mm Oto-Breda gun. It is not yet known whether this is a general tendency to abandon the 100 mm gun, or only a special case for certain specialized vessels.
The 100 mm has been sold abroad, and is used by the navies of Argentina, Belgium, China, Portugal, Turkey, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria & Germany (Mounted on Köln class frigates and Hamburg class destroyers. Both classes are now retired), and others. Belgian Wielingen class frigates equipped with the system were sold to Bulgaria in 2004-2008.