The 30-millimeter MK 46 Mod 2 Bushmaster II cannon*—installed on the San Antonio (LPD-17), Freedom (LCS-1) and Independence (LCS-2), and USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000)-class ships—is an awesome gun weapon system (GWS) with significant improvements over the 25-millimeter MK 38 Bushmaster on other ships throughout the fleet. The Mark 46 can outmatch any small, high-speed, surface threat without sacrificing gun crew safety. Unfortunately, the Navy is not yet taking full advantage of the advanced characteristics of this gun.
Many features make the MK 46 an improvement over the MK 38, including: armor-penetrating capacity using the armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) round, more lethal ammunition including the high-explosive incendiary tracer (HEI-T) round, and increased effective range. Crews can operate this weapon system from inside a controlled environment using its remote operating capability. Once the MK 46 is sighted-in, and current ballistic and environmental factors accounted for, any gunner can sit at the console and fire accurately on target.