vehicles at DSEi 07: Saab introduced its latest
remotely controlled weapon station called 'Trackfire', being
developed with private funding since 2004. Sofar only two systems
were built and used for testing and demonstration. Originally
designed for both land-based and maritime conditions Trackfire
can be used on both armored vehicles and naval vessels. At a
net weight of 136 kg, Trackfire compares with current medium-weight
systems, designed for medium and lightweight automatic weapons.
The system offers a stabilized weapon mount and stabilized optronics,
and automatic search and track functions supporting surveillance
and target acquisition tasks. Trackfire provides the crew full
under-armor operability, including the ability to reload the
weapon under armor. The system can be fielded with appliqué
armor protection, different optronic packages, and link to on
board or remote battle management systems (BMS) or sensor packages.
By integrating Trackfire with a Defensive Aids Suite - such
as laser and/or acoustic gunshot detectors, the vehicle can
provide even quicker response to close-in threats, be it threats
against the vehicle or threats against dismounted
Pressing forward with marketing initiatives in all of the strategic
markets, Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace announced a teaming
agreement with Thales UK, to market and Norway's Kongsberg Defence
and Aerospace have signed a teaming agreement enabling Thales
locally produce the Protector remote weapon station for the
domestic market. Sofar the only weapon station used by the British
Army was the Enforcer, a version of RAFAEL's Samson RCWS produced
under license in the UK by Selex.
DSEi 07 RAFAEL displayed its expanded family of Samson remotely
controlled weapon stations, introducing the 'Junior' - lightweight
remotely controlled weapon station, designed for installation
on light armored vehicles and tanks, where weight and space
restrictions limit the use of other systems. Samson Jr. comes
at a net weight (unloaded) of about 80-110 kg. (depending on
configuration). It is designed to mount 5.56mm or 7.62 mm weapons,
such as the M249 and M240 machine guns, offering improved close-in
protection and situational awareness. Samson JR is currently
evaluated by the IDF for use as a loader's operated weapon on
Merkava Mk 4 tanks. The basic system is not stabilized, but
RAFAEL offers the systems with optional enhancements and optronics
including stabilization, fire control system, long range observation
and laser rangefinder.
New Safety Seats Protect Soldiers from
With the growing concern of the effects of blast caused by
mine and IED attacks, manufacturers and armed forces are fielding
advanced blast-protected seats to protect troops riding in those
armored protected vehicles. Seat providers are coming from different
disciplines, including the automotive safety (such as Autoflug,
specializing in seat belt systems), Plasan Sasa (an armor specialist)
and BAE Systems (vehicle manufacturer and armor specialist).
At DSEi 07, Exmoor Trim Company launched the Ballista-Tek range
of armored seats, combining steel and aramid Kevlar, used for
blast and spall protection. An alternative design uses molded
Dyneema sections protecting against blast, fragments and small
arms (by the armored seat back).
The Dynamic seat developed by Autoflug uses a harness suspending
member without rigid connection to the floor or walls, therefore
eliminating the potential transfer of violent shockwaves during
a vertical (under belly) or lateral (roadside bomb) explosion.
The seat was qualified for the Leopard 2A6 and M-1A1 tanks,
for which 600 M1A1 have been ordered by the US Army. A different
design called Type-400 was developed by Autoflug for Armored
Personnel Carriers. This seat also protects against mines and
IEDs using a five-point harness fitted with quick-release buckle
allowing rapid vehicle exit. (read more about safety blast protected
seats in an upcoming Defense-Update article).
Topics covered in this review: