RAVEN R-400 is type classified by the U.S. Army as the M101 Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS). Over 560 such systems were ordered by the US Army through a series of urgent material requirements (UMR), contracted to Recon Optical in less than 18 months. To meet this demand, Recon Optical’s new lean manufacturing facility is capable of producing hundreds of units per month. In December 2006 Recon Optical delivered 44 Raven R-400 to Australia for integration on the Bushmaster armored vehicles.
Recon Optical offers two remotely controlled, stabilized weapon stations – R-400 CROWS, and the Raven R-200, which is designed for applications requiring lighter, lower recoil weapons such as the M240/249 and future XM-307 ACSW. Fully armed and loaded (M240) the stabilized R-200 weighs below 173 lbs. (78.5 kg), well below the Army’s 200 lbs (90.7kg) threshold. It accommodates the CROWS Electro-Optical System (EOS) provided with x25 zoom capable day optics and cooled thermal sensor providing two fields of view. According to company sources, a small batch of R-200– Lightning has been supplied to the US Army.
A recently introduced alternative is the XM116 from L3 Communications, developed specifically for the Mk19 and other support weapons. The U.S. Army is currently evaluating the system for possible deployment on light armored vehicles, including armored recovery vehicles, future light trucks and other tactical vehicles.
The system currently fielded mounts various weapons from 5.56 machine guns up to the M230LF 30mm automatic cannon and the Mk-19 40mm grenade launchers. The system uses a multi-sensor day/night electro-optical payload for target acquisition and aiming. In the newly modified version, SRWS was redesigned with a lower profile, lower height and reduced frontal signature. It also uses appliqué ballistic protection and less exposed cabling for improved survivability.
The sensor package was also improved with the introduction of an integrated InSb 320×256 FPA and a CCD camera with x27 zoom lens offering 26.5 – 1.3 FOV. Other functions include video stabilization, lead compensation, automated sector scan function and optional video tracking. The system can be programmed with up to 200 target reference points. SRWS provides continuous traverse of 360 deg., completing a full traverse in four seconds. The gun can elevate from +60 to -20 at a pointing accuracy of +/- 0.3 mil and under-fire stability of 2 mils.
In 2005 ROI has teamed with Fire Control Systems (FCS) and EOS Technologies (EOST) of Tucson, Arizona, subsidiaries of Electro Optic Systems, Limited (EOS) of Australia, to provide the fire control and sensor components for CROWS. The CROWS SRWS mount is also capable of carrying the lightweight 30mm automatic gun (left picture).