Most military vehicles can mount some sort of weapon, and even small protected vehicles like up-armored Hummers have top mounts. Manning them can be hazardous, however, as the story behind the Chavis Turret illustrates. Gunners are especially exposed to enemy sniper fire and counter-fire in urban environments, which figure prominently in current and expected war scenarios.
In response, larger armored vehicles have begun using Remote Weapon Systems (RWS), consisting of a gun and sensors that sit on top of the vehicle. These systems are controlled from inside via joystick and screen, and all ammunition, sensors, etc. are part of the topside assembly. The USA’s Common Remotely-Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) brings those capabilities to smaller vehicles, like up-armored Hummers or blast-resistant MRAPs. CROWS orders had traditionally been filled by Recon/Optical Inc., but a major “CROWS-II” framework agreement with Kongsberg in 2007 changed that landscape. In 2012 the CROWS-3 competition confirmed Kongsberg as the incumbent supplier, via a large multi-year contract that will deliver new systems and maintain existing ones.