Troops in M1117s to Get Help from Knights
DRS Technologies, Inc. announced that it has received a $12 million order for Knight Precision Targeting Systems, mission equipment electronic units, cupolas and cables, and integration into more than 60 U.S. Army M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicles. The order was received by DRS from the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren, Michigan. Work will be performed by the company’s DRS Sustainment Systems unit in St. Louis, MO, and delivery of the completed vehicles is expected to commence in March 2008 and be complete by January 2009.
So, just what are these “Knight” systems?
As an June 2005 article noted, the M707 Knight Vehicle System is a precision targeting system consisting of a laser designator/ rangefinder, a thermal imager, blended inertial/ GPS navigation and targeting, digital command and control, and a machine gun. The original M707 Knight vehicle included a targeting and communications package along with 1 of 2 sensor suites: the original AN/TVQ-2 Ground/Vehicular Laser Locator/Designator (G/VLLD) with the AN/TAS-4B thermal sight; or the more recent Fire Support Sensor System (FS3).
Its mission is to provide precision far target location and laser target designation for both artillery and air-delivered weapons, as well as basic self-defense capabilities. Data received is automatically formatted within the fire support tactical data system for immediate digital transmission – which allows receiving units to take immediate action. The newly configured ASV will be used by Field Artillery Combat Observation and Lasing Teams (COLT) to carry out these missions.
The M707 Knight system can also be mounted on M1025A2 HMMWV jeeps for both heavy and light division forward observers, as well as on the M1131 Stryker Fire Support Vehicle for the new Brigade Combat Teams. The addition of the M1117 Guardian as a carrier (M1200 Armored Knight) is a logical next step, and presents few issues since the system was designed from the outset to be both platform and sensor independent.
This award to DRS follows a contract modification by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command (TACOM) to Textron Marine & Land (Cadillac Gage) to manufacture 64 Armored Security Vehicles (ASV) for a new configuration called the M1200 Armored Knight. Approximately $35 million or 75% of the contract value has been awarded, pending final contract negotiations. The ASV vehicles are provided to DRS Technologies, the prime contractor for the Armored Knight who is responsible for the integration of the sensor and Mission Equipment Package.
The first completed Armored Knight M1200 vehicles are scheduled to be delivered in March 2008, according to DRS officials. The total requirement for the M707 Armored Knight program has been listed at up to 345 vehicles. See Textron release.
- Textron Systems (March 2/07) – Armored Targeting Vehicles Begin To Arrive for U.S. Army. Conflicts with the earlier release, in that it refers to a $75.8 million order for 107 M1117 armored vehicles in October 2006, all of which are to be delivered to DRS for the M1200 program.