The US Army has selected Kongsberg for the next phase of its Protector M153 Crows Remote Weapon Stations (RWS) programme and has awarded a new framework agreement valued up to $970m for a period of five years.

Awarded following a full and open competition, the company has received the first $9.1m order for production, system and technical engineering support.

Kongsberg Protech Systems president Egil Haugsdal said the company’s team will continue to deliver highly advanced systems to meet customer’s current and future needs.

A joint acquisition programme for weapon stations for the army’s vehicle programmes, CROWS has been designed to improve efficiency for protection, training support and further development.

As the primary remote weapon station being used by US forces, the Protector remote weapon control system (RWS) in the CROWS II configuration enhances military troop protection and lethality by allowing soldiers to acquire and engage targets from the safety of a vehicle.

Designed to be mounted on a range of vehicles, the system supports the mk19 grenade machine gun, 0.50-calibre M2 machine gun, M240B machine gun, and M249 squad automatic weapon.

The CROWS II programme is also being supported by BAE Systems by supplying thermal imaging modules or sights for use on CROWS II-equipped vehicles, such as the M1114 high mobility multi-wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) and mine resistant ambush protected vehicles.

With customers in 16 other countries, more than 10,000 Kongsberg M153 CROWS RWS have been delivered to the US military to date.

Under the US Army’s CROWS programme, the company has been delivering RWSs since 2007.