Ove Ronny Haraldsen
+47 99 15 59 20
Instead of a relatively unprotected position on the roof, the soldiers can enjoy the full protection of sitting inside the vehicle. Using the camera on the weapon station, the soldier can monitor all movements outside via a screen. The weapon is manoeuvred by remote control. “With such a high level of protection, it is much easier for soldiers to identify whether the persons outside the vehicle are friend or foe. We have also received reports indicating a reduction in the number of shots fired now that the soldiers are able to sit inside the vehicles,” explains Jarle Solvang, Vice President for the CROWS program.
KONGSBERG’s weapon control system helps reduce the number of mortalities on both sides of the conflict. Experience has shown that the soldiers have a much higher survival rate when they are securely strapped into the seats inside a vehicle with closed doors. With the added security of a protected position, the soldiers have more time to fully assess a situation.
This minimises the risk of errors of judgement. “The system is also equipped with a night camera so the soldiers can see persons moving even in total darkness,” explains Liv Moen, Project Manager for the CROWS general contract. Liv Moen goes on to explain that she has also received reports where the weapon system is used as an observation post at a number of camps. The American forces make use of the weapon system in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The delivery of weapon control systems via the American CROWS program has proved one of the most important contracts for Kongsberg Protech Systems (KPS). KPS won the contract, a general agreement with a duration of five years, in 2007. At that time, the order totalled 6,500 systems. To date, more than 11,000 systems have been ordered. The five-year program may reach a total figure of USD 2-3 billion, according to Vice President Jarle Solvang. “These are very high figures, but it’s not something we think about from day to day. We are concentrating on signing new contracts,” explains Project Manager Liv Moen.
Both Liv Moen and Jarle Solvang are full of praise for the collaboration between KPS and the American armed forces. With production in Johnstown and an office in New Jersey, USA, KONGSBERG’s employees are also physically close to the customer. “They visit us on a weekly basis,” explains Jarle Solvang. He believes the key to successful collaboration is when the customer feels he can trust KONGSBERG’s employees. “They know that we are able to deliver. Our employees are very reliable and do their utmost to achieve a good collaborative relationship,” he continues. “And we have a very quick response rate,” adds Liv Moen.
The next step to take is to win the competition for the next CROWS general agreement. Despite reports of budget cuts for the American armed forces, Vice President Jarle Solvang remains optimistic. “The protection of our soldiers is a top priority. We just have to hope that the cuts do not include purchases of this type of product,” he concludes.