Eagles and Piranhas and Lemurs, Oh My!
Denmark’s Defence Acquisition and Logistic Organisation has selected Remotely Controlled Weapon Station (RWS) for their newly purchased General Dynamics MOWAG Piranha III wheeled APCs, and Eagle IV light patrol vehicles. The winner was BAE Land Systems’ Bofors division in Karlskoga, Sweden, who won the SEK 330 million (approximately $50 million) contract with their LEMUR RWS. Deliveries will take place from May 2007 – fall 2008, with all assembly, final testing and delivery taking place at the DALO workshops in Denmark, at facilities in Hjorring and in Fredrikshamn.
The Piranha III is known as the LAV III in North America, and forms the basis of the USA’s Stryker vehicles. The Eagle IV is based on a Duro truck frame, which allows more up-armoring and carrying capacity than earlier HMMWV-derived Eagle models. As previous DID article have noted, however, up-armoring is not the same thing as a fully blast-resistant vehicle.
LEMUR is a fully stabilized weapon station, which means it can fire accurately even if the vehicle is moving. Like other RWS options, it is operated from inside the vehicle by a gunner, using a color display and a two-hand control handle. A thermal infrared camera coupled with a day camera, and a laser range finder round out the optics. LEMUR falls into the category of smaller RWS systems, with an extremely compact design that carries either a 12.7 mm/ .50 cal machine gun (200 rounds) or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (48 rounds). Smoke grenade launchers are placed around the turret, including the area in front of the optics. BAE Systems’ announcement of the Danish win touts LEMUR as modular design that can fit wheeled or tracked combat vehicles, naval protection systems, or even act as a sensor and fire control system for other weapons. In general, this is true for all RWS system, so long as their components are properly “navalized” to resist corrosion.