Kongsberg Gruppen, through its subsidiary Kongsberg Protech, has signed a contract worth approximately MNOK 360 with General Motors Defense and General Dynamics Land Systems (GMD/GDLS) for the delivery of weapons control systems for the first 298 new Light Armored Vehicle being made for the US Army. The contract constitutes the first part of an order for a total of 1734 such vehicles. Altogether, the orders may add up to a value of about MNOK 2000, distributed over 5 to 6 years, at a pace commensurate with US defence budgets.
"Having won against competition from major international suppliers, we are very pleased about being chosen to subcontract for GMD/GDLS," comments CEO Jan Erik Korssjøen. "The American contract proves that it is still possible for relatively small cutting edge technology enterprises to win international contracts. This contract will boost for Kongsberg Gruppen`s export share even further. In 2000, no less than 74 per cent of the Group`s output was exported", comments Korssjøen.
"The contract also shows that we have a good technological solution, and other customers have also shown a great deal of interest in it. This could be the start of a big new wave of activity related to such weapons control systems", adds Egil Haugsdal, president of Kongsberg Protech.
The weapons control system was developed for the Norwegian Army by Vinghøgs Mekaniske Verksted on Nøtterøy. In 1999, in co-operation with Kongsberg Protech, that company signed an agreement to supply such systems to the Norwegian Army. Kongsberg Gruppen has since acquired 100 per cent of the product rights. "It is the fact that the Norwegian Armed Forces were in the forefront, beginning development early in collaboration with Vinghøg, that put us in a position to be chosen by the Americans", concludes Marketing Director Knut Saeter.
The weapons control system will be used for the Light Armored Vehicle the US Army plans to use for its rapid deployment forces. The Light Armored Vehicle can be boarded onto C-130 Hercules transport planes at short notice for rapid deployment anywhere in the world. Kongsberg Gruppen`s system ensures that personnel can stay safely inside the vehicle at all times. Video cameras, sensors and power-assisted equipment give the operator full control of the weapons system from inside the vehicle. Originally developed to destroy mines, the weapons control system is currently being used by the Norwegian UN forces in Kosovo.