Under the strapline ‘Accuracy in Action,’ Arquus launches its Hornet business unit at IDEX 2021 in Abu Dhabi today. Dedicated to development and marketing of the HORNET and HORNET LITE remote-controlled weapon stations (RCWS), the new division centralises and exploits decedes of design, development and manufacturing expertise.
Lying at the heart of modern ground combat, RCWS offer protection and accuracy to the gunner, as well as versatility, tactical overview, and collaborative combat capabilities to the commander. With a background of designing and engineering stabilisation solutions, weapon adaptation and firing accuracy, Arquus is embracing the challenge of combining modern military vehicles and efficient weapon systems, built for accuracy, stability, and light weight.
The Hornet RCWS achieved its first order from the French Army in 2016 and is now being qualified and delivered, with 1,700 units already on order. They have been equipping the GRIFFON since 2019 and will also feature on the JAGUAR and SERVAL, acting as the key to the collaborative combat capabilities of the French Army’s SCORPION programme, providing on-the-move observation, firepower and protection in a package with an ‘above-the-roof’ burden of only 220kg, including an M2HB machinegun with 300 ready rounds.
The HORNET combines mastery of several highly technical fields: precision engineering and mechanics, secure electronics, optronics, image processing, and dynamic electrical servocontrol. The RCWS benefits from the most modern and advanced technologies: full HD digital image chain, extended connectivity, tactical overview-sharing using augmented reality. A HORNET RCWS provides the information, reduces processing time, improves response efficiency and ultimately ensures the protection of the vehicles and their crews.
The flagship HORNET is gyrostabilised from the optronics block, and is fitted with a sensor unit designed in close cooperation with Safran Electronics & Defense, with an uncooled thermal camera and three daylight cameras for wide area awareness and target identification, plus continuous zoom and an eye-safe laser rangefinder. The system is C4I agnostic – capable of integration with Arquus Battlenet or any interface system with capabilities such as slew-to-cue and distant target location. It is compatible with features such as Blue Force Tracking and augmented reality applications.
HORNET delivers highly accurate firing: the first-round hit probability is enhanced by a sophisticated ballistic solution system that takes weapon, ammunition type, range, target motion and vehicle behaviour into account. Fire control assistance and an optimised man-machine interface provide a ready-to-use, easy to deploy weapon system. HORNET is qualified with 12.7mm M2HB, 7.62mm MAG58 and 40mm HK weapons. Its third, wide-angle camera provides situational awareness, allowing both gunner and commander to keep a clear picture of their surroundings at all times from within the vehicle.
Vehicle survivability is further enhanced by the existence of an independent ring-mounted eight-launcher smoke grenade system. HORNET can automatically launch smoke when the vehicle is targeted or illuminated. The RCWS is also protected against battlefield threats with high levels of native protection shielding all sensitive components, effectively allowing for optimal availability and survivability in combat. It also comes with a transport mode which covers the optronics and protects the RCWS’ front. Further, it features a unique cleaning feature, ensuring availability of the optronics at all times and in all likely operating conditions. Finally, the Hornet Division will also be able to offer comprehensive maintenance and training services to maximize the RCWS’ service life and the operators’ performance. These services include digitalized, real-time maintenance support, as well as computer-based simulations and console training.