Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace is the world’s leading provider of Remote Weapon Stations (RWS), with more than 23,000 PROTECTOR units delivered to 28 nations. The 14th annual PROTECTOR Users Working Group, held in Kongsberg, Norway, from 29-30 May, gathered customers and business partners, to showcase the latest advancements in Protector systems.

The event attracted over 100 customers and business partners from 17 nations, highlighting the global reach and importance of KONGSBERG’s products and underscoring KONGSBERG’s commitment to the continuous development of the PROTECTOR Systems, in an era of rapid technological advancements.

The PROTECTOR family includes a range of systems, such as the RS4 and RS6 Remote Weapon Stations, Remote Turrets and Integrated Combat Systems (ICS) designed to operate across platforms. 

“I am incredibly proud of the team that created a demonstration that not only attracts interest but is also communicated to the audience in a very precise and understandable way. We received positive feedback stating that we are recognised as best in class in this area. 

Gard Brandsæter, Director of Business Development at Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

Advanced technologies and live fire demonstrations

The PROTECTOR Users Working Group spanned two days. One of the highlights was the live fire demonstration, arranged at Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace’s own shooting range at Hengsvann. Surrounded by stunning Norwegian nature, Hengsvann provided the perfect backdrop for showcasing KONGSBERG’s cutting-edge products.

Demo scenario 1: ICS with manned-unmanned teaming using ACV, CV-90 and Type X.  

Participants received a detailed, step-by-step overview of how the Integrated Combat Systems (ICS) operate in practice, as well as the product capabilities. The live fire demonstration and product presentation aimed to showcase capabilities that not only promote collaboration with our business partners but also ensure that customers and end users have confidence in the top-tier quality of our designs, production, and deliveries.

Demo Scenario 2: Product capabilities at range 230, Type X with RT 40, CV 90 with RS 6, CAVS with RS 4 and AMV with RT 20.  

A cutting-edge digital integration platform

The Integrated Combat Solution (ICS) is a cutting-edge digital integration platform designed to enhance the operational capabilities of military vehicles and platforms. By integrating hardware and software, ICS creates a fully digitized environment, significantly improving situational awareness and combat efficiency. Suitable for a variety of platforms including vehicles, UAVs, and command posts, ICS ensures interoperability and adaptability through open standards, making it a versatile and future-proof solution for modern defence operations.

Evolution of Remote Weapon Stations

RWS was first introduced as a KONGSBERG product in 2001. Since then, RWS has undergone significant innovations. Initially developed to target mines lying on the ground, allowing operators to sit safely inside an armored vehicle and accurately engage small targets, the technology has evolved to enable weapon operators, who were traditionally exposed in the vehicle hatch, to remain protected inside the vehicle. This advancement allowed for the operation of the weapon with remarkable accuracy, minimizing the risk of exposure and reducing the likelihood of accidental targeting errors.

Today, technology has become more digital, integrating RWS with other sensors and effectors in a wireless network. This development, and ICS, allow for precise targeting of small drones and facilitates the sharing of target information between vehicles equipped with RWS. Consequently, the vehicle best positioned or with the appropriate ammunition can effectively engage the target.

“Valuable meeting place”

In 2007, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace signed a contract for the major US program Commonly Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS). CROWS is a US Program of Record for the acquisition and sustainment of Remote Weapon Stations for all branches of the U.S. Military. Since then, the US program office has procured nearly 20,000 CROWS.

"Attending the PROTECTOR Users Working Group for the first time has been an excellent opportunity to witness the impressive capabilities that KONGSBERG can demonstrate. It has also served as a valuable meeting place to connect with other stakeholders in the industry. The live fire demonstration was particularly helpful in seeing the systems in action. We are still procuring CROWS and we remain very pleased with the performance and reliability of these systems," says Anthony Cortese, Product Director for Crew Served Weapons, US Army.

Engaging Discussions

Day two of the PROTECTOR Users Working Group was held at Quality Grand in Kongsberg, focusing on product updates from Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Through Life Support (TLS). TLS ensures optimal performance of KONGSBERG’s products and systems throughout their lifecycle by maintaining operational readiness, enhancing defence capabilities, minimising life cycle costs, and ensuring predictability.

Keynote speakers included Major General Lars Sivert Lervik, Chief of the Norwegian Army, and Major Craig Warner, Product Manager for Future Weapons Systems, US Marine Corps. 

“The conference enables engaging discussions with our customers and business partners and allows users to share experience,” says Brandsæter, adding, 

“The Remote Weapon Systems (RWS) were crucial during the most challenging times in Afghanistan, Iraq and are now in use in the Ukraine. We have also further developed our technology to support today’s challenges with UAV’s.”

See video from the 14th annual PROTECTOR Users Working Group