The French Army has ordered over
fifty Kongsberg PROTECTOR Remote Weapon Stations (RWS) for use on its VAB 4x4
wheeled armored personnel carriers. The VAB normally carries a 12.7mm
machine-gun, and this weapon will be installed in the RWS. The RWS has proved
to be a real life saver, not to mention anxiety reducer, for troops who drive
through bandit country a lot, and man the turret gun. You're a target up there,
and too often, the bad guys get you. Not with an RWS. The gunner is inside the
vehicle, checking out the surroundings (with night vision and telephoto
capabilities). The RWS also has a laser rangefinder built in, as well as a
stabilizer mechanism to allow more accurate fire while the vehicle is moving.
These systems cost about a quarter million dollars each, and can mount a
variety of weapons (M2 12.7mm caliber machine-gun, MK19 40-mm automatic grenade
launcher, M240B 7.62mm machine-gun and M249 5.56mm squad automatic weapon).
troops have years of experience with video games, they take to the RWS quickly,
and very effectively. The U.S. Army has already bought over 6,000 of the
Kongsberg RWS. The French plan to eventually buy over 300.