South Africa’s Land Mobility Technologies (LMT Holding) has just unveiled the Meerkat, a retractable weapon station mounted on its LM13 light vehicle. As displayed at AAD, the Meerkat is integrated with the Self-Defence Remotely Operated Weapon (SDROW) fitted with a 7.62mm machine gun. The SDROW system was developed by Denel Mechatronics, a business unit of Denel Vehicle Systems (Hangar 4, Stand W7).
“The Meerkat system elevates the SDROW in 12 seconds by means of a 24V electric mechanism, which is the standard for light vehicles,” said Andy Hodgson, LMT’s head of manufacturing. “When firing is complete, the weapon is pointed upwards for the SDROW to retract into the vehicle. Armoured clamshell doors on the vehicle roof now slide into position to protect the entire system,” he explained. Flexibility is underscored by the fact that the SDROW can also fit a 5.56mm machine gun or Denel PMP’s new Inkunzi Strike 20x42mm weapon, Hodgson added.
The all-electric Meerkat system comprising the SDROW weighs approximately 350kg, including the B7 protection clamshell doors with six smoke launchers. A single operator aims the turret and fires the weapon from inside the vehicle, also using a real-time digital video feed from external cameras. All weapon functions, including cocking, are done within the vehicle cabin. With a typical traverse of ±135º, the system provides for an optional maximum of 360º, with elevation from –20 to +80º. The interior accommodates in excess of 3,000 rounds of machine gun ammunition and sufficient quantities of smoke grenades.
“There are many advantages to operating with such a system,” Hodgson said. “Besides reloading and clearing stoppages under armour, the weapon and sights are protected against debris and dust, or even against rain and hail in foul weather. When parked overnight, the weapon remains inside the vehicle, thus obviating the need to remount – and realign again in the morning.”
According to the company, the LM13 MPCV (multi-purpose combat vehicle) was a clean-sheet design with a compact, low profile to be air-transportable in a Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft. The landmine, ballistic and IED certified protected vehicle weighs 12 tonnes and carries six persons. It can be fitted with a range of turrets accommodating various weapon types, including a 20x139mm cannon, a 40mm automatic grenade launcher or a 12.7mm machine gun.
LMT is also displaying a range of its protected vehicles, including the LM14 APC with the Rippel Effect 40mm extended grenade launcher in a double-mount.