US Army recompetes CROWS contract, royalty fee attached for outside vendor

by Ashley Roque

A US Army Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light (RCV-L) prototype outfitted with CROWS-J. The service is currently hosting a CROWS recompete competition. (US Army)

The US Army has launched a Common Remotely Operating Weapon Station (CROWS) competition valued up to USD1.5 billion that allows companies other than the prime contractor, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, to vie for the deal. However, there is a caveat; other vendors must factor in a mandatory USD10,000 per system royalty fee for Kongsberg if they win.

In late August, the service issued a remote weapon station (RWS) request for procurement to cover continued support for fielded CROWS systems and for new designs. In essence, the service is asking vendors whether they can build the Norwegian company's RWS at a ‘better value' to the government.

“The programme will support new and emerging customer requirements to include RWS variants such as Abrams Low Profile, Navy Mk-50, United States Marine Corps (USMC) Amphibious Remote Weapon Station (ARWS), and Stryker,” the army wrote. Parties interested in bidding on the contract have until 22 November to submit their proposals and the service anticipates awarding a single contract worth up to USD1.5 billion.


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US Army to receive four Mid-Range Capability battery prototypes, fielding set for 2023

by Ashley Roque

Image showing US Army detailing what each MRC prototype battery will include. The service plans to begin fielding the weapon in 2023. (US Army)

Lockheed Martin is poised to deliver four initial Mid-Range Capability (MRC) weapon system batteries to the US Army by the end of 2022. If all goes as planned the service could field the new weapon prototype, paired with Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) and Tomahawk missiles, to soldiers by late September 2023, according to the company and service.

The army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) tasked Lockheed Martin with building this mid-range prototype in late 2020, at present called the ‘Typhon', which includes launchers, missiles, and a battery operations centre.

The idea was to create a capability to strike targets somewhere between the 500 and 1,800 km range, or greater than the future Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) but shorter than a Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) system. To do this, army programme officials joined forces with the navy to leverage existing capabilities such as the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (Mk 41 VLS), and the Tomahawk and SM-6 missiles.


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USMC CH-53E marks first transport of JLTV to ship and back to shore

by Gillian Rich

A US Marine CH-53E Super Stallion carries a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) in the Philippine Sea. (Lance Cpl. Christopher England)

The US Marine Corps (USMC) used a Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter to transport a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to a ship and back to shore for the first time.

Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit logistics combat element and Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 31, along with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (Reinforced), transported the JLTV from a beach at a training area in Okinawa, Japan, approximately 13 n miles, to USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5). The CH-53E performed two lifts at the beach landing zone and two lifts aboard Miguel Keith before transporting the vehicle back to the beach, Captain Pawel Puczko, director of communication strategy at the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, told Janes via email.

“The CH-53 and Helicopter Support Team provide a pretty unique capability to get those systems to otherwise inaccessible locations,” said Captain Tyler Hopping, CH-53E pilot with VMM-262 (reinforced), in a statement.


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US Army outfitting Infantry Squad Vehicle with 20 kW laser, DE M-SHORAD deliveries forthcoming

by Ashley Roque

US Army infantry soldiers secure their rucks in the cargo netting on the roof of the ISV after it was airdropped at Fort Bragg during operational testing. The service announced it will outfit the ISV with a 20 kW-class laser to down unmanned aerial systems. (US Department of Defense)

The US Army is integrating a 20 kW-class laser weapon system into its new Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) to help soldiers down smaller unmanned aerial systems (UASs), according to the director of the service's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office Lieutenant General Neil Thurgood.

The three-star general spoke at the Space and Missile Defense symposium on 10 August about a host of programmes under his purview including directed energy initiatives. At the event, he announced that senior service leaders recently approved the development of an Army Multi-Purpose High Energy Laser (AMP-HEL) prototype that they want completed by the end of September 2023.

Tentative plans involve outfitting General Motors (GM) Defense's ISV with a pallatised 20 kW-class laser weapon system to enable soldiers to down Group 1 and 2 UAS, Lt Gen Thurgood added.


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The US Army has launched a Common Remotely Operating Weapon Station (CROWS) competition valued up to...

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