The U.S. Army has selected Oshkosh Defense to integrate and build an unmanned turret for its Stryker combat vehicle.  The Medium Caliber Weapon System (MCWS) will subside the current unmanned turrets on Stryker Dragoon in service since 2016.

The initial order worth $130 million covers the production, integration, engineering, and logistical support for 91 Stryker MCWSs. 83 of these vehicles are destined for the I-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team and are scheduled to become operational by late 2023. The entire delivery of +500 systems will support 6 BCTs for $942 million if the full contract is implemented through 2027.

In 2019 Oshkosh Defense teamed with Pratt Miller and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to deliver the MCWS. Based on Rafael’s Samson turret system, the solution provides increased lethality, accuracy, and range while maintaining the mobility and survivability of the Stryker ICVVA1.  Oshkosh will integrate onto the Stryker Double V Hull Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICVVA1) chassis a 30mm weapon system based on Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ proven SAMSON family of turrets.

Rafael offers several versions of the Samson turret. The system selected by the US Army uses a dual-axis stabilized mount of the XM-813 30mm cannon and coaxial 7.62mm machine gun; both can be used simultaneously. Loading and reloading of both weapons are enabled under armor coverage through an access hatch reserved for this purpose within the turret ring. The system also has provisions for smoke grenade launchers. The most advanced model integrates the Trophy Active Protection System (APS) and advanced automation features. In the past, the Army has evaluated Rafael’s APS solutions for the Strykers and is considering further tests with the current version.

The turret uses two sighting systems, one for the gunner and one for the commander, enabling hunter-killer combat techniques using two individual but interconnected sights, displays, and two weapon control sets. The sights are emplaced in armored ‘pods’ that can fit different optronic systems. The system also uses a sophisticated combat management system comprising automatic target detection (ATD) and tracking (ATTS) capabilities. The Samson design has provisions for two Spike LR missiles in canisters and will require further integration of the Javelin missiles used by the Army.

The contract calls for the integration of the Oshkosh MCWS onto three Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCTs) and a full spectrum of system technical support, interim contractor logistics support, and integrated product support.

The decision follows the Army announcement to divest it’s Stryker 105mm Mobile Gun Systems (MGS). Given the choice of ammunition and higher overall system reliability, the 30mm cannon weapon system (including integration of a Javelin guided missile) is considered more versatile and efficient than the 105mm canon.

Before the recent decision, the Army conducted a thorough examination of five turret systems before selecting the MCWS among three finalists. The Army did not announce the exact model. Still, according to open sources, it will be based on RAFAEL’s Samson 30mm RWS, a turret that has already been selected and entered service on other 8×8 combat vehicles. The other finalists were an MCWS offered by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) and Kongsberg and another design submitted by Leonardo USA and MOOG. All turrets mount the Northrop Grumman 30mm XM-813 Bushmaster Chain Gun (and are also upgradable to 40mm Supershot) and are installed on the ICVVA1.

A major advantage of the new XM-813 is that it is ready to fire the ATK MK310 Mod 0 Programmable Air Bursting Munition PABM and PABM-T (Traced). The MK310 round is capable of a number of settings including Airburst designed for use against entrenched enemy infantry and Point Detonate and Point Detonate-Delay for use against infantry or ATGM teams within buildings.

the Infantry Carrier Vehicle – Dragoon (ICVD) variant of the Stryker uses a Kongsberg Protector remotely operated turret mounting a 30mm cannon. Photo: Photo US Army by Tad Browning