Military Review

Working remotely


Oshkosh’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle armored vehicle equipped with a new Kongsberg Protector LW30 DUMV armed with an Orbital ATK M230LF cannon

For nearly two decades now, remotely controlled weapons modules have demonstrated their advantages in terms of protection, surveillance, chain grabbing and increased accuracy compared to weapons on the swivel type machine. Increased firepower will be added to this list as the market moves from small-caliber to medium-caliber systems.

The most unprotected and vulnerable members of the crew of any armored combat vehicle are those who are forced to put their heads and shoulders out, driving a machine gun on a turret mount. However, the remotely controlled weapon module (DUMV) nullifies this vulnerability.

The experience of the American army and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past fifteen years has made it possible to identify the significant advantages offered by the DUMV in comparison with the weapons on the turret mount: increased survivability of the shooter; improved overview for the shooter; improved detection and acquisition of targets due to the use of thermal imaging and other optical zoom sights; laser range finder and fire control system software provide high accuracy from the first stage; stabilization and recoil control system improves accuracy; and reducing arrow fatigue by eliminating the effects of weather factors.

During 2017, the US Army deployed a CROWS (Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station) in the ground forces reserve units, mainly in the military police companies. “It will increase the accuracy of our military operations,” said Arkelio Gillespie of the Office of Armored Vehicles. - It will reduce the number of losses. He will increase the accuracy of the search for the enemy. "

Development on the edge of the earth

Australian company EOS Defense Systems has manufactured more than 1500 DUMV. which were integrated into more than 20 platforms for customers such as the American, Australian and Dutch armies.

In 2000, the company’s CIDA R-400 was selected for the first phase of the US Army’s CROWS project. A total of 560 systems were delivered (classified by type as M101), and the first copies were deployed in Iraq in January 2005 on M1114 HMMWV vehicles with additional reservations. In 2012, EOS announced the transfer of a license for the production of R-400 to South Korean Hyundai-WIA.

Working remotely

DUMV R-400 Australian company EOS Defense Systems

The latest serial version of the module R-400 received the designation R-400S Mk2, production of which began in the 2016 year; in small batches in the first year, more than 70 modules were manufactured. The modernization of the McNUMX consists of the following: a new stabilization system for the Australian development, which, according to EOS, provides "the highest probability of hitting moving targets from a moving carrier platform"; improvement of day / night optical systems in order to increase the identification distance and improve image quality for both reconnaissance and surveillance, and guidance; automatic tracking; integrated software that allows you to connect the CIDM to any other module or tower; digital integration in combat control systems; and video and audio recordings of all battle clashes.

In March, 2015, EOS received a contract worth 6,5 million dollars to rebuild and upgrade 45 from X-NUMX modules of the Australian Army's R-275 to the latest standard. One of the most significant improvements to the R-400S Мк400 module is that it can be armed with an Orbital ATK M2LF 30-mm cannon along with systems that the previous model can adopt with mm 230, 5,56 mm and 7,62 mm and 12,7-mm machine guns grenade launchers.

The M230LF gun, bearing the designation HM914 in the American Army until the qualification process is completed, is a modernized version of the 30-mm gun M230 installed on attack AN-64 Apache helicopters. The new gun has a rate of 200 shots per minute. The company Orbital ATK is working on a new set of ammunition for M230LF, which includes the following types: high-explosive fragmentation projectile, with a timed fuse and practical.

The R-400S Мк2 module, armed with the M230LF gun, was demonstrated on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) armored car in the 2016 year, and later installed on other vehicles

EOS notes that the market for “traditional” DUMVs armed with 5,56-mm, 7,62-mm and 12,7-mm machine guns and 40-mm grenade launchers declined from 690 million dollars in 2010 year, when armies deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan literally " fought "for equipping their machines with similar modules, up to about 80 millions in 2017 year.

The company EOS believes that the market for "advanced" DUMM, armed with guns and rockets, should be considered separately from the market of remotely operated towers, which the company also manufactures. She estimates the market for HELM up to 2025 in the amount of 4,5 billion dollars and believes that its share will be 2,1 billion. Well, not bad at all. In June, 2017 of the year, Orbital ATK Company issued to EOS a contract for 170 million dollars for the supply of 600 systems R-400S Мк2 to 2020.

The company plans to open a new plant in 2018, where it will move production from existing plants. The company Orbital ATK does not provide information about the customer of these systems.

Norwegian meaning

Norwegian company Kongsberg Protech Systems (KPS), the manufacturer of the M153 CROWS II module, is the leading supplier of DUMV. More than 18500 Protector modules in different versions were sold to buyers from 18 countries.

The Norwegian army became the first customer of the Protector module, the NM221 variant was installed on its M113 armored personnel carriers. These machines are distinguished by the internal supply of ammunition, which allows the shooter to charge the weapon without leaning out of the body. This system was first deployed with the Norwegian peacekeepers in Kosovo in 1999.

The US Army chose Protector systems for its two projects, which contributed to Kongsberg's dominant position in the DUMV market. The first choice was made in October 2000, when the Protector module, designated M151 in the US Army, was selected as the main weapon of several variants of the General Dynamics Land Systems Stryker 8x8 armored vehicle manufactured by Canada. Among them are the basic M1126 armored personnel carrier, the M1130 command vehicle, the M1132 engineering department vehicle and the M1135 RCB reconnaissance vehicle. To date, almost 5000 machines of the Stryker have been manufactured, and most of them are equipped with the M151 module.

DUMV Protector on the Stryker M1126 armored personnel carrier

The M151 module, capable of receiving only one weapon system, can be armed with either an 7,62-mm M240 machine gun, an 12,7-mm M2HB machine gun, or an 40-mm MK19 automatic grenade launcher, which are connected to various sensors, including a laser range finder, thermal imagers, a day-time camcorder, and an amplifier, a telescope camera, and an amplifier, which can be connected to various sensors, including a laser rangefinder, thermal imagers, a day-to-day video camera and an amplifier, a telescopic camera, a daylight camcorder and an amplifier. Images. The operator control panel, located inside the machine, is similar to the control console of many computer games. With the total mass of the 169 kg system, the M151 module itself weighs kg 127 over the roof. The gyro-stabilized unit rotates at 360 ° and has vertical guidance angles from -20 ° to + 60 °.

Modernization of Block 1 (М151Е1) was started with the new Stryker machines for the fifth (of nine) brigade kit, and also carried out on the previous versions of the Protector modules. This upgrade included: a new thermal imaging module, which more than triples the identification distance compared to the original camera and has two optical and two electronic fields of view; New Laser Rangefinder Small Tactical Optical Rifle Mounted LRF; more spacious cartridge box; and improved operator grip. The modernization of Block II (М151Е2), launched from the new Stryker machines, made for the sixth brigade kit, allows you to hit targets while driving at speeds up to 40 km / h; the intercept rate of the module has also been increased.

Further development of the Protector module

The second big project was launched in August of 2007, when the US Army signed a 1,4 billion-dollar framework agreement with Kongsberg for the supply of M6500 Protector modules for CROWS II to 153. In 2009, this number was increased to 10349 systems. The American Kongsberg plant in Pennsylvania manufactures Protector modules for the US market; at the same time, BAE Systems subcontracts TIM1500 thermal sights. installed in DUMV M151.

The original version of the M153 is unified with the M151 model at the level of 95-98%. The refinement consisted of the following: a larger cartridge box capable of holding 1000 mm 7,62 cartridges, 400 mm 12,7 mm cartridges or 96 40 mm grenades; image stabilization; automatic target tracking; the use of composite materials to reduce the mass of the system; and armor protection. The M153 module also has the functions of automatic tracking and automatic target advancement, it can be used to program reference points for firing several targets, to program the surveillance sector and the fire prevention zones.

In the US Army, they say that when measuring the distance to a target with a laser rangefinder, the accuracy of the CROWS module reaches 95%; the module also absorbs about 80% recoil energy, which allows the shooter to re-aim faster after each turn.

In August, 2012, the Kongsberg Company, received a five-year contract for the CROWS III module for an unspecified quantity and with an unspecified delivery time. Its potential cost is 970 million dollars, but to get the full amount, you must perform all the options on the 3000 modules M153 CROWS, modify the 6000 of existing systems, supply spare parts and provide technical support. The last order for this contract was issued to Kongsberg in May 2016 to upgrade the M153A1 and M153A2 modules to the latest M1532EXNNXX standard; on schedule work on it will go until February 1 of the year.

The CROWS module was installed on HMMWV armored cars, on many MRAP variants and on the M-ATV (MRAP-AII Terrain Vehicle) armored vehicle. On the modernized tank M1A2 SEPv2 (System Enhancement Package Version 2) US Army, produced from 2005 years, also set CROWS module, while M1A2 SEPv3 version installed a new module Low-Profile CROWS, which can be cleaned in order to reduce the overall height.

Option tank M1A2 SEPv3 with installed Low-Profile CROWS module

In October, the 2017 of the year the production center in the city of Lima delivered the first six production tanks М1А2 SEPv3. Two months earlier, GDLS was awarded a contract worth 270 million dollars to upgrade 2019 tanks to 45 in August.

During training at the shooting range of Rodriguez in South Korea, a military policeman fires an 12,7-mm machine gun installed in the CROWS module

Integration situation

In January, the 2018 2 Reconnaissance Regiment (2CR) from the Stryker mechanized brigade, based in Germany, received six Stryker vehicles. equipped with the latest version of the M153 module, adopted by the American army, CROWS-Javelin. Although the regiment has 87 FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile launchers, Javelin calculations must dismount from machines to work with this complex.

With 2010, Kongsberg and Javelin Joint Venture worked together to demonstrate the potential of integrating the launcher into the CROWS module, which later became known as the “tactical configuration”. In 2016, the British Directorate for the Development and Testing of Armored Vehicles successfully launched five missiles from the M151 module mounted on a Spartan tracked armored personnel carrier (photo below): three missiles in the 0 variant struck targets at 1500, 2500 and 3200 meters; and two Block 1 missiles hit targets at 3500 and 4300 meters, which is one of the largest distances to successfully hitting a target with a Javelin missile.

Army commanders approved the development of a new complex after a declaration of urgent need, issued by the 2CR regiment, whose firepower needed to be strengthened in order to match equal rivals in Europe, for example, the Russian army.

In the middle of 2017, at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, soldiers from the 2CR regiment participated in a fire test of two vehicles: the Stryker CROWS-J and the Stryker ICV-Dragoon (Infantry Carrier Vehicle - Dragoon). The second car was equipped with a remotely controlled Kongsberg Medium Caliber-Remote Control Turret turret, armed with an 30-mm automatic cannon with selective power Orbital ATK XM813.

The January deliveries of six CROWS-J machines will allow the regiment to conduct field trials, and in the middle of the year all serial machines of this standard should be supplied. Deploying 87 CROWS-J and 83 ICV-Dragoon platforms will greatly enhance the brigade’s firepower. Received after the deployment of machines reviews will correct the strategy of the army, as happened with the increase in firepower of all nine mechanized brigades Stryker.

More modifications

The US Army released in July 2016 a requirement to carry out "improvements in lethality" of the new Oshkosh JLTV armored car for its operation in the reconnaissance role of the infantry brigade combat team in the 35 infantry brigade (IBR) until a light six-seat reconnaissance armored car of the Light Reconnaissance is developed. Vehicle. JLTV armored vehicles will be equipped with reconnaissance platoons in each of the three infantry battalions of the IBCT brigade and reconnaissance groups in the reconnaissance division of the brigade.

The army’s budget request for 2018 for the year describes its development strategy: “The modified remote-controlled weapon module, the development of which will begin in 2018, will use a consistent capacity-building approach. At the first stage, which will become part of the urgent requirements, the existing M153 CROWS modules will be refined to integrate the 30-mm XM914 automatic cannon. ”

In accordance with the first stage, Kongsberg will deliver the first 67 modules. In September, Oshkosh presented the JLTV equipped with the new Kongsberg Protector LW2017 with the M30LF cannon at AUSA in September. The LW230 module can be configured as a double (with two weapon systems) DUMV with the addition of an 30-mm machine gun, or even as a triple DUMV with another Javelin rocket.

In the second stage, “further design changes will be required, updating the optics in order to increase the range of target identification in order to match the capabilities of the installed weapons, and installing a paired machine gun as an additional weapon system. When integrating additional systems, for example, the Stinger missile system, previous experience of integrating Javelin missiles into the combat module will be used. ” The army has requested 22.5 million dollars for these developments.

The Army has defined the next generation CROWS system requirements in a CROWS CROWS (CROWS Increment II Capability Development Document) document that will increase levels of situational awareness, survivability, and mortality. The requirements of the Increment II phase include: improved sensor systems for increasing identification distance; Wider fields of view: increased accuracy in motion; learning opportunity; staging smoke screens; Record the task for later analysis; and increased firepower of high-precision lethal and non-lethal weapon systems. The Army plans to issue a request for proposals for the Increment II phase at the end of 2022.

The shooter from the crew of the Canadian armored vehicle TAPV checks the Kongsberg Protector Dual module before live firing. TAPV was the first platform on which this module was installed.

On both sides of the Atlantic

The Canadian army became the first customer of the Protector DRWS module (Dual Remote Weapon Station), issuing a contract in the Kongsberg 2013 year for the sum of Canadian million 100. KPS Canada was chosen to install the TAPV Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle 4x4 developed by Textron.

Canada acquired 500 TAPV vehicles, 193 in the TAPV-Recce reconnaissance configuration and 307 in the TAPV-GU universal configuration with an option for an additional 100 vehicles. Serial TAPV deliveries were completed in December 2017. The TAPV's primary armament will be the DRWS module, which KPS Canada describes as a "new technological innovation" in the Protector family, as it will be the first model to be armed with two weapon systems: the Heckler & Koch GMG 40mm belt-fed grenade launcher (designated by the Canadian Army C16 Close Area Suppression Weapon) and a 7,62-mm C6 machine gun (Canadian version of the FN Herstal MAG). Instead of the C16, a 12.7 mm M2NV machine gun can be installed. The DRWS module will be installed on 138 TAPV-Recce machines and 226 TAPV-GU machines.

The armored vehicle TAPV was first deployed in a contingent of the Canadian army of 450 men, who form the basis of the combat group in Latvia. It is one of four multinational NATO militant groups stationed in Poland and the Baltic countries in 2017.

First Textron TAPV Reconnaissance Patrol Armored Vehicles Obtained by the Canadian Army in August 2016

GD UK, the lead contractor for the British Army's new Ajax tracked armored vehicle, awarded Kongsberg with 2015 a £ 1 million contract for the supply of Protector modules for this project in 61. Today it is the largest contract of the British Army for the supply of DUMV.

The UK ordered 589 Ajax vehicles in two basic versions: the Ajax reconnaissance version with the turret and the Ares armored personnel carrier. The latter option, in turn, is the base for the commander machine Athena C2, engineering intelligence Argus, evacuation option Atlas and repair option Apollo.

Prototype Ajax tracked armored vehicle with Protector combat module

DUMV Protector will be the main weapon of all variants of Ares. It can also be installed on the roof of the turret of the Ajax variant, while its scope can work as a backup when the main sight of the turret is damaged. The first Protector modules were supplied to GD UK in 2016, and the first Ajax vehicles are planned to be deployed to the troops in the 2019-2020 years.

DUMV will be installed on a promising XIVUMX8 mechanized infantry vehicle MIV (Mechanized Infantry Vehicle) of the British Army, which will be equipped with two new medium brigades; their full combat readiness is expected by the middle of the next decade. Since each brigade will be equipped with two Ajax regiments and two MIV infantry battalions, it is possible that the MIV will be equipped with a Protector DUMV in order to increase the level of uniformity of the brigade systems and simplify combat training and logistics.

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  1. Lexus
    Lexus 20 February 2018 16: 52
    Most of the modules are pretty decent in size and are not covered by armor protection. It turns out that performance remains until the first hit, even a bullet. Thank you for the article! hi
    1. leybshtandartss
      leybshtandartss 20 February 2018 16: 57
      it’s better the module will get a bullet rather than soldier
      1. Lexus
        Lexus 20 February 2018 17: 08
        Nobody argues. Just a statement of fact - an advanced sighting and review system = a good target.
  2. John22
    John22 20 February 2018 17: 16
    Unfortunately, the Russian army is not going to install on MBT.
    1. Usher
      Usher 20 February 2018 20: 21
      What are you hanging? They are already installed as half a century.
      1. CTABEP
        CTABEP 20 February 2018 21: 11
        Yeah, especially on the T-72B3, for example.
  3. seos
    seos 20 February 2018 17: 51
    The cost of such combat modules is still very high ... by the criterion of cost / effectiveness, they seriously lose to habitable modules.
    1. Vladimir 5
      Vladimir 5 20 February 2018 20: 08
      You have not contributed to the life and health of the soldier, since such inputs. We often don’t even see a simple bulletproof shield, but Rogozin boasts - there are no analogues in the world ...
      1. seos
        seos 20 February 2018 22: 32
        10 armored cars with a machine gun will save the lives of soldiers better than 1 armored car with such a module ... and for the price they will be equal ...
        Example: BTR-80 costs 5 lyam, and with BTR-82 crewed combat module 28 million, that is, a module with a 30 mm gun costs 23 million (of which the gun is 1.5 m.)
        1 to 6 turns out ..
        Let me remind you that this is a serial module, and robotic modules will cost more ...
        Even Americans with their bloated budget ride on armored cars with ancient machine gun turrets ...
        The strength of the army is not in the piece of equipment but in mass production and economically viable .. 10 armored cars with combat modules are a drop in the thief, but 100 armored cars with machine gun turrets are a force to be reckoned with ...
        See, it turns out that an armored car with a robotic machine-gun module is more expensive than an infantry fighting vehicle, which is more effective than this armored car at times in all combat characteristics .... meaning?
  4. Usher
    Usher 20 February 2018 20: 20
    "improved visibility for the shooter" uh, in a sense? Like this? Better than whipping your head and eyes?
    1. CTABEP
      CTABEP 20 February 2018 21: 09
      Well, you won’t get your head around at night. And at a long distance it is better to have optics. So everywhere there are pluses, but when you turn your head - there are too big chances to catch a thread into it.
  5. tchoni
    tchoni 21 February 2018 08: 55
    They’ve been spoiling about DUBM for about 20 years. But, even VERY RICH AMERICANS are in no hurry to stick them on all their "Hammers" without exception, often preferring them to "armored verandas"
  6. 82т11
    82т11 21 February 2018 10: 29
    Lots of text but not enough information! Does it make sense to us to read about the cost of contracts or what now will the modules have a new, more convenient control HANDLE on? If something is written, the author should pay more attention to the concepts of production, performance characteristics and operational efficiency, and most importantly COMPARE models.
    1. seos
      seos 21 February 2018 13: 12
      Cost is one of the most important parameters, it must be indicated (if there is such an opportunity), it makes it possible to analyze the situation ...
      1. 82т11
        82т11 21 February 2018 17: 50
        So this is the cost of a unit of equipment, and the author writes the total cost of the contract, even without quantity. And what kind of analysis can this be done? I will say no it is just informational garbage.
        The author seems to have ripped off brochures from manufacturers' websites, translated them, and now passes them off as an analytical article.