Vanguard Magazine

Dec/Jan 2015

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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For remote weapon station manufacturers like Kongsberg Protech Systems (KPS), C4ISR might not be their primary busi- ness, but how the weapon integrates with the rest of the vehicle's electronic architec- ture is increasingly part of their thinking. "More and more, our PROTECTOR RWS is acting like a sensor suite, and the lethality part of it may or may not be used. It is not just something to knock out or stop a vehicle; it has a thermal imager, a day or night camera, a laser range finder, and it can provide a lot of information about the identity of that ve- hicle, who is driv- ing it, and so on," says Cornell Pich. "As more and more information needs to be disseminated...we need to be aware that whatever we do for future develop- ment doesn't stop that from happening. The more information that a soldier has, the better he or she can do their job. And the RWS is just another way to get more information." Pich is vice president of strategic business development for KPSC, the Canadian di- vision of Norway's Kongsberg Gruppen. While he and the company's general man- ager, Kjetil Grongstad, may be focused on maintaining current Canadian programs and developing new opportunities at home and for international markets, the challenges posed by customer demands for more intelligence, surveillance and recon- naissance (ISR) data in a networked envi- ronment are a constant reminder of what is shaping that future development. That has meant building weapon systems that are not only versatile themselves – able to operate a .50 caliber or M240 machine gun or a 45mm grenade launcher, for ex- ample – but that can also readily accept new sensor packages configured to customer needs while integrating with both new and legacy combat management suites. "That is not easy to do because the tech- nology and the components...are [chang- ing] pretty quickly," says Grongstad. "Just look at your cell phone. Everything is old fashioned after a few years. If we are ob- ligated to maintain a system for so many years, we need to handle the obsolescence challenge. That has been an important fo- cus for us." The responsibility to integrate a vehicle's electronics today resides with the prime manufacturer or their C4ISR or radio system provider. But as demand for "in- creased capability and increased informa- tion" grows, Kongsberg is exploring new ways to disseminate information through- out the vehicle, he said. "Right now the RWS is a standalone: It has got its fire control unit and its sen- sors and that information is available to the person sitting at the weapon station," adds Pich. "We bought a company in the U.S. several years ago called Kongsberg Integrated Tactical Systems – they do vehicle cortex solutions, smart displays that are going on the U.S. Army Stryker vehicle – and they are look- ing at how we can better integrate the com- mand and driver displays with more of that information coming from the RWS. How do we push that data throughout the ve- hicle in a more efficient way?" c c4iSr 34 DECEMBER 2014/JANUARY 2015 The remote weapon station (RwS) was introduced on vehicles to enhance situational awareness and defend property and personnel in high-risk areas. Sheltered inside a wall of protective armour, a gunner can engage targets without risking exposure to enemy fire. But if every vehicle is now an information platform, not just a means of transport, then the RwS also serves as one of its many data feeds. Remote weapon station data in demand InformAtIon by the bArrel: by chris Thatcher

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