Marines Eyeing Futuristic Remote Turret for AAVs

The Army tested the R400S Mk2 Dual Remote Weapon System in Oklahoma last month. The weapon system, made by EOS Defense System USA, Inc., can be operated from inside a vehicle and spots land or air threats from miles away. (U.S. Army)
The Army tested the R400S Mk2 Dual Remote Weapon System in Oklahoma last month. The weapon system, made by EOS Defense System USA, Inc., can be operated from inside a vehicle and spots land or air threats from miles away. (U.S. Army)

QUANTICO, Virginia -- The Army is testing a high-tech dual remote weapons station that can be operated from inside a vehicle -- a capability Marine officials are eyeing for their aging fleet of Assault Amphibious Vehicles.

Last month, soldiers at Fort Sill in Oklahoma tested the R400S Mk2 dual remote weapon system. The R400S Mk 2, which is produced by EOS Defense Systems USA, Inc., can operate a variety of weapons including a machine gun, automatic grenade launcher, 30mm cannon or Javelin missile. It weighs less than 1,000 pounds and can "provide significant and flexible lethality from a land or sea platform," according to company officials.

The system, which can be used from the back of a vehicle or another remote location, uses high-tech sensors that allow soldiers and Marines identity targets more than 7 miles away.

"You can identify your target at a distance further than the effective range of the weapons systems," Steve Below, vice president of operations with EOS Defense Systems USA, told Military.com at the Modern Day Marine expo here.

Related: Marine Corps Cancels Major AAV Upgrade, But Still Plans a New Gun Turret

An Army release on systems experiments said the Mk2 can be mounted on light and medium vehicles. Aside from being able to take out land targets, the system was tested on aerial drones at Fort Sill, Below said.

"It hit seven out of 10 at less than 350 meters, but it was a kinetic kill," he said.

The Army and other branches have fielded similar systems in the past, such as the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, or CROWS. They're designed to keep the operator out of a turret by allowing them to use a computer screen from inside a vehicle or somewhere off site.

"It keeps the operator under protection," he said. "... There's been a lot of interest here, mostly the younger [Marines] who say, 'Wow. That's cool. I wish we had one.'"

Last year, Marine officials canceled major upgrade plans for its four-decade-old tracked Assault Amphibious Vehicles. But one thing program officials were still looking to add was a remotely operated gun turret.

The R400S Mk2, which is optimized for tracked vehicles, according to EOS Defense Systems USA, "includes a direct drive sensor unit which minimizes high frequency road and vehicle vibration from degrading the operator video image."

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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