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|OTO Melara 76 mm|
|Place of origin||Italy|
|In service||1964 – present|
|Used by||See users|
Super Rapid: 1985
Oto Melara (subsidiary of Finmeccanica): 2001–2015
Leonardo-Finmeccanica: since 2016
Leonardo: since 2017
Super Rapid: 1988
|Weight||Empty: 7.5 tonnes (17,000 lb)|
|Barrel length||62 caliber: 4,724.4 mm (186.00 in)|
cartridge weight 12.5 kilograms (28 lb)
shell weight 6.3 kilograms (14 lb)
propellant weight 2.35 kilograms (5.2 lb)
|Caliber||76.2 mm (3.00 in)|
speed: 35°/s (acceleration: 72°/s²)
speed: 60°/s (acceleration: 72°/s²)
|Rate of fire||Compact: 85 rounds/min
Super Rapid: 120 rounds/min
|Muzzle velocity||915 m/s (3,000 ft/s)|
|Maximum firing range||
HE-PFF 16,000 m
|Feed system||Magazine capacity:
80 ready rounds on Compact gun mount
The Oto Melara 76 mm cannon system is compact enough to be installed on relatively small warships, such as corvettes, avisos (a vessel somewhere in size between a corvette and a patrol boat), and patrol boats. The gun's high rate of fire and availability of specialised ammunition make it well-suited to varied roles such as short-range anti-missile point defence, anti-aircraft, anti-surface, and ground support. Specialised ammunition includes armour-piercing, incendiary, directed fragmentation effects, and a guided round marketed as capable of destroying manoeuvring anti-ship missiles. A stealth cupola is now offered.
The OTO Melara 76 mm has been widely exported, currently in use internationally by 60 navies. It has recently been favoured over the French 100mm naval gun for the joint French/Italian Horizon-class frigate project and FREMM frigate.
Developed in the early 1980s (and sometimes called the "Super Rapido"), this variant is the up-to-date development of rapid fire Italian 76 mm naval cannons, capable of firing an increased 120 rounds per minute. The Super Rapid's higher rate of fire was achieved by designing a faster feed system.
These new improvements led to the Italian Navy preferring the Super Rapido with Strales System and DART ammunition to the Fast Forty 40 mm CIWS, in the anti-missile defence role, being capable of countering several subsonic missiles up to 8,000 meters away.
The longer range means one single gun can engage more than one missile in a single engagement, and minimises the danger posed by fragments and splinters if a missile is destroyed close to the ship. The 76 mm was also capable of being used versus surface targets, being a medium caliber gun with relatively long range.
To provide multiple roles for the gun, OTO provides the user with wide ranges of specialised ammunition:
There were evolutions in the gun's fire control systems as well. The early versions (Compatto) utilised radars such the RTN-10X Orion (made by Selenia, now Selex);
From the early 1980s there was a more powerful and flexible system, the RTN-30X (used with the Dardo-E CIWS system and known within Italian Navy as SPG-73), that was capable to manage both guns (40,76 and 127 mm calibres) and missiles (Sea Sparrow-Aspide). This system came in service with the Italian Navy, on the cruiser Garibaldi (C551: the RTN-30X entered in service first with Maestrale-class frigates, but the Dardo 40 mm turret were slaved to the smaller and older RTN-20X radars), but still with the twin 40 mm Dardo's turrets; while the first ship equipped with Dardo E and 76 mm Super Rapido was the upgraded Audace-class destroyers, later followed by the Durand de la Penne class. The 76/62 has also been used with countless other fire control systems, when not being used in the Italian fleet.
There have been many developments in the fuses, essential to shoot down low-flying missiles. The best fuse developed for the 76/62 guns is arguably the 3A-Plus programmable multi-role fuse, manufactured by Oto Melara and Simmel Difesa, introduced in the early 2000s. This fuse requires the installation of a fuse programmer in the mount.
The programmable multi-role fuse offers the user different modes for excellent flexibility, including a time mode for air burst; proximity mode: including Gated Proximity, Anti-Missile Proximity, Conventional Air Defence Proximity and Anti-Surface Proximity Modes; and several different impact modes: including Delayed Impact.
The system includes a DSP which rejects ground/sea clutter and makes the fuse capable of detecting a missile flying as low as two meters above sea level. It has the capability to recognise a target at a 10-meter stand-off. In all, the fuse greatly increases the effectiveness of the gun when engaging anti-ship missiles.
Since the 1980s efforts were made for development of guided 76 mm ammunition, but this was not achieved until recently. The first such ammunition was the CCS (Course Corrected Shell), also known as 'CORRETTO'; a joint program of OTO and British Aerospace. Work started in 1985. The projectile had several small rockets in order to deviate the trajectory. Radio commands were sent from the ship FCS. The FCS did not know the exact position of the projectile, only that of the target. This system was too complex and unreliable, so OTO studied another development in order to obtain a real 'guided ammunition'.
The result of this development is a system which was called DAVIDE just for the Italian market and STRALES for export purposes while the fired guided ammunition is called DART(Driven Ammunition Reduced Time of flight).
The DART projectile is similar in many aspects to other hyper-velocity systems, for example the Starstreak SAM missile's multi-dart warhead, but is a guided gun projectile with radio controls and a proximity fuse for low level engagement (up to 2 meters over the sea). DART is fired at 1,200 m/s (3,900 ft/s), can reach 5 km range in only 5 seconds, and can perform up to 40 manoeuvres. The DART projectile is made of two parts: the forward is free to rotate and has two small canard wings for flight control. The aft part has the 2.5 kg warhead (with tungsten cubes and the 3A millimetric wave new fuse), six fixed wings and the radio receivers.
The guidance system is Command Line of Sight (CLOS). It uses a TX antenna installed on gun. The radio-command for them is provided on a broadcast data-link (Ka Band).
The first lot of DART/STRALES 76mm guided ammunition, produced by OTO Melara, was successfully tested at the end of March, 2014. The firing trials were conducted on board one of the Italian Navy’s ships equipped with Strales 76mm SR and Selex NA25 fire control system. The first firing trials of the DART ammunition bought by Colombia in 2012, were successfully conducted in the Caribbean Sea on August 29 from the 76/62 Strales inner-layer defence system fitted to its modernised FS 1500 Padilla-class frigates.
The more recent development is the VULCANO 76 ammunition system. Basically, it is a scaled down version of the 127–155 mm Vulcano family of extended-range projectiles developed by Oto Melara; guided by Inertial Navigation System and Global Positioning Systems, it is capable of hitting targets twice the distance of normal 76 mm gun ammunition. GPS-IMU guidance and IR or SALT Terminal sensor 
Most of the basic ammunition types offered for the Oto Melara 76mm can also be fired from the South African Rooikat armoured car with slight modification to change from electric to percussion primers. This is the only land-based vehicle system capable of deploying the same ammunition as its naval counterpart.
Platforms using the Oto-Melara 76 mm include:
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