Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: CROWS, CROWS-J, Protector M151, RWCS and Weapons Control System
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Description: The Weapons Control System (WCS), also known as Remote Weapon Station (RWS) or M151 Protector, was developed by Kongsberg of Norway to protect armored vehicles without exposing the vehicle's crew to enemy fire. Such a system enables the crew to effectively operate the weapon and sensor systems of the WCS well protected under armor. The Protector has been designed to integrate light and medium-caliber guns as well as missile and grenade launchers.
Protector Hellfire is a variant equipped with two AGM-114 Hellfire anti-armor missiles tested by the Royal Norwegian Navy in 2004. The Protector Javelin is a version provided with the Javelin anti-tank missile command launch unit (CLU) developed in cooperation with the US Army's AMRDEC, Redstone Arsenal, USA. The Protector family of weapon station is targeted at light and medium armored vehicles and small boats. More than 2,000 RWS have been produced for customers worldwide since December 2001.
To date, the WCS has been purchased by the armed forces of Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and the United States of America. The US Army selected the M151 Protector to be integrated onto the Stryker wheeled multi-purpose vehicle primarily on the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) variant, HMMWV and MRAP vehicles under the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) program awarded to Kongsberg in August 2007.
The basic M151 Protector weapon station integrates a 12.7mm (0.5 caliber) remotely operated M2 machine gun and several smoke grenades with a sensor package and sight system on a fully stabilized platform. So far, Kongsberg has produced more than 1,500 M151 Protector basic models. Its sensor package includes CCD-TV daylight camera, uncooled thermal camera and laser rangefinder. The CROWS-J variant is equipped with a single Javelin anti-tank missile.
On November 1st, 2005, General Dynamics Land Systems of Canada signed a contract valued at NOK 100 million ($17 million) with Kongsberg for the delivery of WCS for the Canadian Army. On 27 January 2006, the Irish Department of Defence signed a contract with MOWAG GmbH for 15 Piranha III 8x8 armored vehicles. Nine of the combat vehicles were set to be equipped with Kongsberg 12.7mm stabilized and remotely controlled weapon station and the remaining six vehicles with an OTO-Melara 30mm gun. Piranha III deliveries were expected to start in February 2007.
On June 1, 2006, the government of Canada awarded General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada a CAD $31 million contract for 25 additional RG-31 mine protected vehicles. The contract also included provision for the Kongsberg's M151 remote weapon stations valued at MNOK 51. Deliveries to the Canadian Army were planned between September and November 2006. These additional vehicles were an option from a previous contract awarded in November 2005 that called for the delivery of 50 vehicles.
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