UAE company Siham Al Khaleej Technology (SAKT) and Finmeccanica’s OTO Melara armaments business have joined forces to develop, market and manufacture a new 20mm Gatling variant of OTO Melara’s Hitrole stabilised remote weapon station. Known as Hitrole 20, the new system is being displayed by SAKT (Stand OA-007) at NAVDEX.
Hitrole 20 has been brought to market as a private venture to address requirements for a compact, lightweight, low-radar cross-section weapon station offering significantly increased range and lethality over the 12.7mm machine gun fitted to the current Hitrole N mounting.
OTO Melara and SAKT see potential for Hitrole 20 in constabulary and force protection applications. Featuring a General Dynamics M197 20mm three-barrelled Gatling gun, and 750 rounds of 20x102mm ammunition on-mount, the electrically operated Hitrole 20 is claimed to have an effective range of 2km.
The fully stabilised, non-deck-penetrating mounting, weighing 600kg, also incorporates a ballistic computer and an electro-optical sensor suite comprising a daylight TV camera, a mid-waveband thermal imager and an eye-safe laser rangefinder.
Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed last year, OTO Melara and SAKT are sharing development and qualification of Hitrole 20; engineering design and development was started by OTO Melara in Italy, while qualification activities (on both land-based proving grounds and at sea) will be conducted in the UAE. It is planned that production lines will be established in Italy and the UAE, with sales pursuits divided under a marketsharing agreement.
The co-development of Hitrole 20 further cements the relationship between OTO Melara and SAKT. In February 2013, the two companies announced they had signed a cooperation agreement under which SAKT has established an engineering workshop at its Al Taweelah facility to support OTO Melara gun systems in service with the UAE Navy, with the potential to service the needs of other Gulf states.