Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace (a division of Norway-based Kongsberg Gruppen with a significant US presence), remains the sole provider of remote weapon stations (RWS) for US DoD. In that capacity, the US team is turning its attention to the qualification phase for what will be the next generation of DoD’s Commonly Remotely Operated Weapon Stations (CROWS).
Jason Toepfer, Director for Army Business Development (US & Canada) at Kongsberg, explained CROWS is what the US government uses to support all overarching RWS requirements. “We’re in the middle of completing the next iteration of technological improvements, which we commonly call ‘tech refresh’,” he noted, adding that while these activities will mitigate obsolescence in fielded systems, they will also bring to bear significant new capabilities – for thermal sensors in particular – and in system architecture, to better enable network lethality. Kongsberg expects to complete these CROWS qualification activities later this year.
While CROWS remains Kongsberg’s core US land defence business, it also has other concurrent pursuits.
One set of activities involves the PROTECTOR MCT-30 [Medium Caliber Turret 30mm]. The turret, with its Northrop Grumman XM813 cannon, has been fitted to 83 US Army STRYKER DRAGOONs. The service is seeking to equip other STRYKERS with a turret weapon that will use the XM813, through the STRYKER Medium Caliber Weapons System lethality programme, in which Kongsberg is teamed with GDLS, the STRYKER OEM.
Toepfer added Kongsberg is also eyeing an opportunity to equip US Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) with a turret system. ACV supplier BAE Systems is conducting an in-house competition for this award. “We’re deep into that competition,” Toepfer told MON, adding the company expects a decision on the programme “in the next several months.” This programme makes use of the Mk44, and also “leverages the internal mechanisms of the MCT-30 STRYKER System and the RWS. The current CROWS system, the new CROWS system and our entries for the two turret competitions all use the same internal software architecture and baseline. We’re bringing a lot of commonality and other efficiencies to the two turret competitions.” The US Marine Corps programme of record remains for approximately 1000 ACVs, “of which about 325 will have the turreted system,” explained Toepfer.
In terms of US Foreign Military Sales opportunities, Kongsberg’s RWS, CROWS and other content is packaged as part of an overall capability package featuring Oshkosh Defense’s JLTV. In one case, Toepfer concluded, “we’re very far along in the FMS case process for Slovenia and Lithuania.”