Armor: February 16, 2004

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Yet another weapon in development was sent to Iraq and proved reliable enough to go into production immediately. This one was CROWS (Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station), which is a turret mount for various weapons (.50 caliber, 7.62mm and 5.56mm machine-guns or 40mm automatic grenade launcher.) The CROWS system contains daylight and thermal sights, a laser range finder, electric motors to move the weapon in any direction, and electronics that allow the weapon operator, inside a hummer or Stryker (or any vehicle that can support the mounting hardware and several hundred pounds of weight) to see what's in front of the gun barrel, put a target into crosshairs and fire accurately at up to a thousand meters. CROWS was originally scheduled to enter service in 2006. But it has been doing so well in testing, that four systems were sent to Iraq and mounted on armored hummers. After six weeks of use, the four CROWS systems had suffered no failures, performed as they were designed to and the troops using them didn't want to give them up. Typically, weapons in a hummer turret leave the gunner very exposed to enemy fire. This is not the case the CROWS. In addition, the day sight has telescopic capabilities, as does the thermal sight (for use at night and misty weather.) With CROWS, the gunner is safer, and so is the convoy he is with, because the CROWS sights allow the gunner to see farther, and fire more accurately. CROWS has a stabilizer and software that does all the calculations to make the most accurate shots with whatever weapon is mounted, even if the vehicle is moving. CROWS is going into production ahead of schedule because of the successful operational tests. 

 


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