Kongsberg will manufacture 409 more Commonly Remotely Operated Weapon Stations (CROWS), spares and support to the US Army for $94m (Nkr1bn).

Building on a framework agreement of three previous five-year contracts for Kongsberg’s fixed weapon stations going back to 2007, the US Armed Forces have continued to procure more systems in its latest tranche, which comes under the ongoing fourth five-year indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract worth $1.4bn awarded in October 2022.

CROWS is part of Kongsberg’s Protector family of Remote Weapon Systems (RWS) for land and sea. Integrated on mobile or static platforms, the systems enable remote operation of payloads ranging from small calibre weapons to medium calibre automatic cannons. 

Between the M151 and M153 variants Norway’s top defence contractor has delivered more than 18,000 systems to the US Armed Forces. Worldwide, the manufacturer has delivered more than 23,000 systems to 26 nations.

At the time of publishing, Kongsberg had not responded to a request for comment on what type(s) of CROWS it will deliver to the US Army as part of its latest iteration. Given that the manufacturer had provided the latest M153 units in the past, the company may well have provided them again in this in this case.

Image of the weapon systems and sensors integrated onto the CROWS system, of which the US Army has requested 409 units. Credit: Kongsberg Aerospace and Defence.

How does the US use the CROWS across the Armed Forces?

The Protector family includes the RS4 and RS6 RWS, with weapons from light machine guns (5.56mm) to light cannons (30mmx113mm).

It also includes the remote turrets, designed for medium calibre cannons like 30mmx173mm and 40mmx180mm.

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

Capable of mounting on a range of vehicles, the CROWS system also supports firing from the Mk19 grenade machine gun, 0.50-calibre M2 machine gun, M240B machine gun and M249 squad automatic weapon from inside of a heavy armoured vehicle.

Besides land operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US Army, National Guard and US Special Operations Command have also used CROWS systems during conflicts.