Remote Weapon Systems at the Modern Day Marine Expo


Remotely Controlled Weapons are becoming integral element in modern combat platforms – not only on armored vehicles, but also on tanks, aircraft, and naval crafts and even robotic platforms, where RWS are empowering telepresence with lethal power, as robots are assuming more and more combat roles. Among the products unveiled at the Modern Day Marine expo were the Guardian, ILWS and SCUL.

Remote Guardian System (RGS)

BAE Systems introduced at MDM 07 a belly-mounted remotely controlled weapon system designed to protect V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. The airborne installation provides a unique application, sofar unavailable for airborne platforms. RGS, designed to be belly-mounted on the V-22, is the first remote weapon system capable of delivering accurate, sustained fire throughout the aircraft’s entire flight envelope. It features a compact, retractable design saving valuable aircraft cabin space and was designed to be completely compatible with the V-22’s avionics suite. RGS uses a separate target acquisition turret and stabilized weapon mount, both are retracted in stowed position, deployed only when required. According to BAE Systems, RGS is the first remote weapon system capable of delivering accurate, sustained fire throughout the entire V-22 flight envelope . Because it receives input from the aircraft’s vehicle management system, it can maximize the potential fields of fire during all stages of flight, regardless of aircraft configuration. Similar to modern fighter aircraft, the system’s use of a continuously computed impact point (CCIP), enables the gunner to simply ‘point and shoot’ at the target, while the weapon control computer adjusts the weapon, compensating for wind-and-vehicle motion. RGS could be installed in existing V-22s without any change to troop carrying capacity. In recent stability testing at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, RGS mounted with a GAU-17, 7.62 mm mini-gun was assembled on a moving land vehicle test platform. The testers demonstrated the weapon’s accuracy, based on its three-axis stability and control being the foundation of the RGS and a core capability of BAE Systems. “RGS performed admirably in the tests, demonstrating accurate fire on-the-move,” Clark Freise, vice president of defense avionics for BAE Systems, said when introducing the system at the Modern Day Marine Expo in Quantico, Virginia. “Due to the support and feedback we received from the Marine Corps’ requirements and user communities, we are now launching RGS as a mature system.” BAE Systems, which has been working with the user community to develop and demonstrate this capability since mid-2005, is planning to make the system available for installation beginning in the third quarter of 2008.

UT-25-30mm Unmanned Turret Weapon Station

Elbit Systems’s EFW subsidiary demonstrated at MDM 07 the Unmanned Turret concept designated UT-25-30, installed on a USMC Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV). The turret mounts the M242 25mm automatic cannon or the MK44 30 mm cannon, both from ATK, and a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. Demonstrations of the UT25-30 were recently performed for the USMC on LAV-25 and the AAV. The overhead unmanned turret has several advantages, since it does not require any roof penetration, preserves valuable internal space (in the AAV example) or clearing significant internal space in the LAV-25, by removing the original manned turret. Maintained at an optimal position about three feet above deck (960-983 mm) the weapon-mount offers high elevation and depression angles – an important factor for urban engagement. An innovative folding mechanism reduces the system’s height to 1.5 ft (about 50 cm) maintaining low silhouette and assuring transportability in C-130 Hercules aircraft.


Elbit System’s subsidiary EFW recently won its first major US order for remotely operated weapon station – the company will supply 450 overhead remotely controlled weapon stations (ORCWS 7.62) to be operated by the loaders on US Marine Corps M1A1 tanks. Designated Improved Loader’s Weapon Station (ILWS) by the US Marines, the systems are mounted as ‘add-on’ to the turret roof, without penetration required into the vehicle’s deck. It maintains a low silhouette and its fully stabilized weapon and sensor mount and soft recoil mechanism, offering high accuracy fire. The lightweight (<95 kg net weight, without weapon or ammo) electrically operated system mounts an M240B machine gun and 690 rounds (upgradable to 1150). eloading can be performed in less than a minute. The weapon is operated remotely from inside the tank facilitating weapon aiming, firing, charging and stoppage clearing. ILWS uses an uncooled thermal viewer, developed specifically for this application. A similar system is currently being evaluated to equip the Israeli Merkava Mk4 tanks.

Small Caliber UltraLight (SCUL)

The Small Caliber UltraLight (SCUL) weapon station from Precision Remotes was developed as follow-on to the TRAPS T-250D currently operated with the US Marine Corps. The lightweight, quick installation mount weighs only 55 lbs (25kg) and can be mounted on a tripod, vehicle or an nmanned ground vehicle (UGV). The system supports several weapons including the M249 SAW (Minigun), M240B machine gun (with 400 rounds of ammunition) and 0.50 cal M82A1M/M107 (Barret) anti-material weapon. SCUL is carried and operated by a single soldier using a lightweight controller weighing 4.9 lbs (2.2 kg). The operating system supports up to three store/recall target locations and uses ballistic correction for aiming adjustment, compensation for ammunition type, range, cant, tilt and camera parallax. Its drive mechanism enables 360 deg. movement. Fine adjustment in azimuth and elevation is also provided for gun laying. Traversing at a rate of 140 deg/second and elevating at 40 deg/sec. SCUL can be integrated with on-board or external sensors to facilitate Slew-to-Cue operation. Typical optronics include a daylight zoom CCD video camera and a thermal or image intensified sensor for night operation. Mechanical lockouts are used to maintain safety margins.

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