OSHKOSH DEFENSE JOINT LIGHT TACTICAL VEHICLE WITH REMOTE WEAPON STATION
PROTECTOR Remote Weapon Station
Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS (KONGSBERG) has sold nearly 20,000 M153 PROTECTOR Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) units so far. The weapon is being used by more than 16 nations, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK. At time of this writing, the U.S. Army has three-quarters (15,000) of all PROTECTOR weapon stations. The PROTECTOR RWS is a mature and proven product based on millions of hours of operational experience in combat zones combined with a close cooperation with defense forces worldwide.
The PROTECTOR RWS family is constantly enhanced with new product variants to meet customer-specific requirements. M153 CROWS is manufactured by KONGSBERG in Johnstown, east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. The CROWS has an unprecedented Operational Readiness Rate of 99%. The technology behind it is a four-axis servo system, where the weapon’s center line and sight line move independently of each other (detached line of sight). The operator controls the RWS with a joystick and aims at the target at any time while the weapon’s center line is automatically adjusted depending on the weapon type, ammunition, distance to the target and inclination of the vehicle. The weapon station has a flexible architecture regarding sensor integration. A variety of sensors are integrated today, such as a fully stabilized system with thermal night cameras, laser rangefinders and color day cameras that contribute to target observation and advanced ballistics and image processing. Sensors like the thermal camera and the 30x zoom day camera make it easier to detect movement around the vehicle and to distinguish friend from enemy.
According to KONGSBERG, user experiences show several benefits. A protected gunner has more time to make well-considered and good decisions. Fewer rounds are needed to be fired, and the rounds that are fired hit where they are aimed at. The flexibility on both the sensor and the weapon side has contributed to the development over the years to a whole family of PROTECTOR RWSs. For example, there is an RWS version on which a 30mm machine gun is the main weapon (LW30) which also can control the Javelin armor missile and future integration of the Stinger air defense missile; a low-profile version designed for the M1A2 Abrams tank; as well as lighter and more mobile versions (“small/super small”).
PROTECTOR RWS with Javelin JIK and .50 HMG
On May 21, 2019, Oshkosh Defense unveiled the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) with a Special Forces mission package. The vehicle was equipped with a PROTECTOR RWS with a Javelin Integration Kit (JIK) and a .50 caliber machine gun. The high firepower is complemented by an electronic architecture designed for integration into tactical networks. Despite the high weight of the weapons, the JLTV remains so mobile that it can be used in combat together with other combat vehicles. The combination of scalability and flexibility makes the JLTV suitable for the unpredictable and evolving mission requirements of Special Forces. “The JLTV is a disruptive force booster that enables operators to achieve escalating and de-escalating effects in military operations—from environmental and peace missions to dangerous enemy conditions,” said George Mansfield, Vice President and General Manager Joint Programs at Oshkosh Defense (Source: Oshkosh Defense).
Javelin Weapon System
Javelin is the world’s most versatile and lethal one-man-portable, anti-tank guided munition and surveillance weapon system. It is made by the Javelin Joint Venture, a partnership between Raytheon Company and Lockheed Martin. A premier light infantry surveillance and anti-armor weapon system, Javelin provides the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and numerous international customers a fire-and-forget, medium-range missile. It’s easy to use and offers enhanced situational awareness and demonstrated lethality against a wide array of targets, such as armored vehicles, bunkers and caves. Javelin is combat-proven and has a greater than 94% reliability rate. It can be deployed from multiple platforms and used in all weather and in day or night operations. The program has also developed and demonstrated remote launchers for ground vehicles. The Javelin system is scheduled to be in inventory until 2050 (Source: Raytheon Company).
|FGM-148 Javelin Anti-Tank Missile|
|Weight||22.3kg (49.2lb) (carry weight)|
|Length||Missile: 1.1m (43in)
Launch tube: 1.2m (47in)
|Diameter||Missile: 127mm (5.0in)
Launch tube: 142mm (5.6in)
|Effective firing range||4,750m (2.95mi)|
|Warhead||Tandem-shaped charge HEAT
Penetration 600–800mm RHA
|Warhead weight||8.4kg (18.5lb)|
Available Alternatives for the JLTV
As an alternative, a multitude of RWS configurations including cannons, missiles and advanced non-kinetic weapon systems are available. Armed with its payload capacity and a system integration-minded design, the JLTV can support increased lethality and outperform adversaries with a multitude of remotely operated weapons for use against land and air threats. KONGSBERG has developed a PROTECTOR RWS LW30 with Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems’ (formerly Orbital ATK) M230LF 30mm Chain Gun, mounted on an Oshkosh JLTV, the four-door, general-purpose variant.
M230LF Chain Gun
The 30mm cannon has enhanced lethality capability over the .50 caliber HMG. The 30mm M230LF is a more capable version of the 30x113mm cannon featured on the Apache helicopter and is a member of the Chain Gun family of externally powered, combat-reliable conventional automatic weapons. The M230LF boasts a DC drive motor with a firing rate of 200 rounds per minute and has a reliability of 22,000 mean rounds between failures. It fires M789 HEDP, M788 TP and NATO standard 30mm ADEN/DEFA ammunition. Other features include electronic round counting capability, an extended-length barrel for enhanced muzzle velocity, a delinking feeder that allows the use of linked ammunition and an anti-hangfire system. A hangfire protection system for an externally powered gun includes a recoil sensing mechanism cooperating with a sear latching mechanism such that in the event of a hangfire, a sear engages a safety link on the chain drive assembly to keep the bolt locked. If the round fires, the gun function continues; if the round does not fire, there is a delay of a sufficient time to assure that the round is a dud, and it is ejected. The M230LF has air, ground or sea weapons platform applications.
That gives the cannon a multi-role, multi-target system capability.
|M230LF Chain Gun|
|Recoil force||794kg (1,750lb)|
|Rate of fire, cyclic||Single Shot, Burst, Full-Automatic 200 rds/minute|
|Power required||1 horsepower|
|Clearing method||Cook off safe, open bolt|
|Safety||Absolute hangfire protection|
|*Includes gun barrel, drive motor, recoil system and integral dual feeder. Electronic round counting capability. Source: “Northrop Grumman 30mm M230LF Chain Gun” (PDF) 2018.|
PROTECTOR RWS LW30
The PROTECTOR RWS LW30 was for the first time presented at DSEI 2017 in London. The RWS LW30 is a further development of the existing PROTECTOR RWS family, providing enhanced operational capability by use of the M230LF 30mm cannon. The PROTECTOR RWS LW30 offers modularity for single-weapon, dual-weapon and even triple-weapon configurations; for example, where the M230LF main weapon, a 7.62mm coax weapon and a Javelin ATM can be installed simultaneously. This flexibility and modularity provides the capability for high power fire for many operational needs. Switching between the installed weapons is easily performed by the operator from the intuitive Human Machine Interface. The fully stabilized sensors match the extended range of the 30mm cannon and the long-range Javelin. The versatile system architecture enables support for future integrations such as Stinger missile or other effectors.
|PROTECTOR RWS LW30|
|Dimensions* (H,S,W) of the weapon station excl. weapon and ammunition||H=810mm (31.9in), D=1220mm (48.0in), W=1158mm (45.6in)|
|Integrated main weapon||ATK M230LF|
|Integrated secondary weapon||M240 (7.62mm)|
|Ammunition capacity||Main weapon: 30mm 150rdsSecondary weapon: 7.62mm
Secondary Javelin: 1 missile
|Weight* excl. weapon and ammunition||~325kg (715lb)|
|Weight* with 30mm main weapon and ammunition||~460kg (1013lb)|
|Weight* with 30mm main weapon and ammunition, 7.62mm coax weapon with ammunition and Javelin anti-tank missile||~540kg (1189lb)|
|Motion characteristics||Azimuth 360o unlimited range, 60o/sElevation -10o to +60o, 75o/s|
|*Depending on final configuration (Source: Brochure RWS LW30, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace)|
PROTECTOR RWS LOW PROFILE
A tank without a 360-degree close-combat armament capability against a sneaking infantry attack will be prey. The PROTECTOR RWS Low Profile (LP) is designed for small and medium caliber weapons as a “Turret on Turret” solution for the U.S. Army’s M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank, but it can be installed on any type of platform. According to KONGSBERG, the system has been through several tests, with excellent results. Like the other PROTECTOR RWS types, the LP CROWS is a fully stabilized system with a thermal imager that has a dual field of view, autofocus and e-zoom. The color daylight camera allows a wide field of view, up to 45 degrees while observing, and more than 30 times optical magnified close-up view of the target area when identifying and engaging a long-distance target. The eye-safe laser rangefinder provides extremely accurate range measurements, providing the PROTECTOR first-round, on-target capability. The weapon can, if necessary, be operated manually.
The PROTECTOR RWS Eliminated a Deadly Threat
A video on nrk.no on September 21, 2017, shows an operator who can see how the bullets from the RWS .50 caliber machine gun hammer into an IS suicide fighter’s car on the PROTECTOR RWS monitor inside the armored vehicle. The car is some distance away, but the car is speeding toward a unit of Iraqi soldiers close to the Norwegians. Near them is a parked tanker truck with fuel. The suicide fighter’s car filled with explosives blows up by the 12, 7mm hitting rounds. If the suicide fighter had managed to reach the unit, he would have been able to bring hundreds to death.