The PROTECTOR “Nordic” programme is a cooperation of Sweden and Norway to procure a common advanced RWS configuration to be integrated onto different armoured vehicles. Building on the system’s proven history of more than a decade in service with different customers, the two Scandinavian countries sought to field a common but adaptable system to benefit of synergies in the production, fielding and servicing process.
As Egil Haugsdal, President of Kongsberg Protech Systems, said on the occasion of the recent agreement’s announcement: “Our systems have been used under extreme conditions for many years, and have proven to be a valuable asset for our customers and the soldiers serving in the field. These two customer nations are strategically important to Kongsberg as key Nordic nations. Cooperation with both Norway and Sweden is an important focus in the company and we are looking forward to executing this program together with our customers.”
Yesterday’s conclusion of agreements also included the signing of a delivery contract valued at NOK 380 million. The systems will be produced in Kongsberg, Norway, by Kongsberg Protech Systems and deliveries are expected to begin in mid-2012.
According to the company, the ordered “Nordic” remote weapon stations are “the most technically advanced RWS ordered to date.” Equipped with different sensors and optronics, as well as with a large possible range of weapon systems, including machine guns, grenade launchers, anti-tank missiles and smoke grenade dischargers, the PROTECTOR remote weapon station allows the crew of armoured vehicles to operate the system from a protected position inside the vehicle.
The system consists of a stabilised firing platform, which is fixed to the roof of the vehicle, and offers weapons mounts for the armament, as well as of a control group inside the vehicle. Offering a 360° observation and engagement capability, the PROTECTOR allows the crew to carry out patrols and combat operations, while not being directly exposed to enemy fire.
Kongsberg’s PROTECTOR solution received much international attention during the last years, in particular, due to its role in the US Army’s CROWS II programme (Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station). A variant of the PROTECTOR RWS, the M151, had been selected for the US Army’s vehicle programme in August 2007. Since, the Norwegian company supplied over 10,000 systems for US Army Stryker brigades and other vehicles deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In February 2011, the US Army and Kongsberg signed a framework agreement for an increased delivery of up to 11.690 CROWS units. In September, however, the US Army announced a modification of the programme. According to Kongsberg, “the change is not a direct consequence of reduced need for CROWS-systems but rather a changed purchasing strategy due to the current budget situation in the USA.” The US Army then estimated the upcoming tender to comprise 3,000 systems with an estimated value of USD 970 million.
In addition to the domestic Scandinavian market and the CROWS programme in the United States, the PROTECTOR is used worldwide by armed forces in different configurations and on a large variety of armoured vehicle platforms. According to Kongsberg, it counts 17 countries among its international customers for the remote weapon station.