Kongsberg Gruppen has been awarded a contract modification to support the US Army’s M153 Protector common remotely-operated weapon stations (CROWS).

The Nkr190m ($21.3m) contract forms part of the previous $970m new framework agreement secured by the company following a full and open competition in 2012.

Under the terms of the new contract, the company will support activities and production preparation for a low profile CROWS configuration.

Valued at $1.4bn, CROWS is a joint acquisition programme for remote weapon stations, and is designed to offer improved protection capabilities, training and development support for the US Army’s vehicle programmes.

"M153 CROWS has been designed to enhance military troop protection and combat capabilities."

Based on the combat-proven M151 Protector system, M153 CROWS has been designed to enhance military troop protection and combat capabilities by enabling target acquisition and engagement from safer distances.

Designed to be mounted on a wide range of vehicles, the remote weapon station also supports firing from the MK19 grenade, 0.50-calibre M2, and M240B machine guns, as well as the M249 squad automatic weapon from inside a heavy armoured vehicle.

In addition, the system was deployed by the army during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has also been used by many US forces, including the Army National Guard (ANG) and US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) during conflicts.

Kongsberg has delivered more than 10,000 M153 CROWS units to the US Army since August 2007, and recently secured an Nkr195m ($34m) contract extension for supply of CROWS spare parts late last month.

The weapon is being used more than 16 nations, including Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK.