U.S. Army awards Kongsberg $499M CROWS Remote Machine Gun System

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The U.S. Army awarded Kongsberg $499 million for Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) system.

Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 14, 2023, a U.S. DoD release today said.

The CROWS is a series of remote weapon stations used by the U.S. military on its armored vehicles and ships. The U.S. military has fielded both the M101 CROWS and M153 CROWS II systems.

The CROWS system provides an operator with the ability to acquire and engage targets while inside a vehicle, protected by its armor. It is designed to mount on a variety of vehicle platforms and supports the Mk 19 grenade launcher, 12.7 mm M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun, 7.62 mm M240B Machine Gun, and 5.56 mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

The system is composed of two parts: the mount which is fixed to the exterior of the vehicle and the control group. The mount is capable of 360° rotation and −20° to +60° elevation and is gyro-stabilized. The sight package includes a daylight video camera, a thermal camera and an eye-safe laser rangefinder. It is also furnished with a fully integrated fire control system that provides ballistic correction. The weight of the weapon station varies accordingly due to different armament modules: 74 kg light, 135 kg standard (including the naval version), and 172 kg for CROWS II.

The control group mounts inside the vehicle (behind the driver’s seat on the HUMVEE). It includes a display, switches and joystick to provide full remote control of the weapon system. This enables the fighting crew to operate from inside armored combat vehicles, while still maintaining the ability to acquire and engage targets. Its camera systems can identify targets out to 1,500 m away, and the mount’s absorption of about 85% of weapon recoil delivers an estimated 95% accuracy rate, as well as the ability to track targets moving 25 mph (40 km/h). Large ammunition boxes enable for sustained firing periods, carrying 96 rounds for the Mk 19, 400 rounds for the M2, 1,000 rounds for the M240B, and 1,600 rounds for the M249.