Procurement: France Buys Iraq Experience


May 12,2008: The French Army has ordered over fifty Kongsberg PROTECTOR Remote Weapon Stations (RWS) for use on its VAB 4x4 wheeled armored personnel carriers. The VAB normally carries a 12.7mm machine-gun, and this weapon will be installed in the RWS. The RWS has proved to be a real life saver, not to mention anxiety reducer, for troops who drive through bandit country a lot, and man the turret gun. You're a target up there, and too often, the bad guys get you. Not with an RWS. The gunner is inside the vehicle, checking out the surroundings (with night vision and telephoto capabilities). The RWS also has a laser rangefinder built in, as well as a stabilizer mechanism to allow more accurate fire while the vehicle is moving. These systems cost about a quarter million dollars each, and can mount a variety of weapons (M2 12.7mm caliber machine-gun, MK19 40-mm automatic grenade launcher, M240B 7.62mm machine-gun and M249 5.56mm squad automatic weapon).

Since many troops have years of experience with video games, they take to the RWS quickly, and very effectively. The U.S. Army has already bought over 6,000 of the Kongsberg RWS. The French plan to eventually buy over 300.


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