The US Army has increased the scope of the existing common remotely operated weapon station (CROWS) II frame agreement by signing a contract modification worth Nkr508m ($84.5m) with Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace.
Under the latest contract modification, the company has received purchase orders for spare parts and depot support valued at Nkr198m ($32.9m).
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.
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.
To attain the required thermal sensitivity, smaller uncooled thermal sensors on remote weapon stations use less power than those that need to be cryogenically cooled.
The order is part of the $1.4bn CROWS II framework agreement signed in August 2007.
In April 2010, the US Army awarded an Nkr590m ($100.4m) contract to Kongsberg as part of the increase of the CROWS framework agreement for up to 10,349 systems, which was originally signed in December 2009.