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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Seoul’s ADEX escapes the worst of Covid-19 cancellations

by Gareth Jennings

As the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition 2021 is staged at Seoul Airport on the outskirts of the South Korean capital from 19 to 21 October, Gareth Jennings explores the expected developments at the show…

ADEX, as the event is popularly known, is rapidly becoming one of Asia-Pacific's most influential and prestigious aviation, aerospace and defence events, along with Aero India, Avalon in Australia, the Singapore Air Show, and the China Air Show in Zhuhai in China.

For organisers, the biennial show has been fortunate to escape the worst of the Covid-19 cancellations and postponements that have blighted other similar events over the last couple of years, with the previous ADEX in 2019 having been staged just ahead of the global shutdown, and this latest iteration coming just on the back of it. There will, however, be a reduced international participation at this year’s event as global travel restrictions remain place.


With Covid-19 having also taken the gloss off previously announced defence budget increases (in 2021, nearly USD500 million was shaved off defence expenditure for the year to help pay for the pandemic), South Korea in general and the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) in particular will be keen to once again being showing their wares to the world at this 14th running of ADEX.

Although the RoKAF has increasingly taken on an expeditionary role in recent years, it remains the threat from North Korea that drives the service's procurement and modernisation plans (for instance). To this end, the RoKAF's acquisition planning is focused primarily on strengthening its air combat capabilities with the latest precision strike and air defence assets, and ADEX will bring the latest news on a planned follow-on buy of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), as well as latest developments on the KF-21 Boramae (previously known as KF-X) programme in particular. 

With a keen focus on military affairs, Janes interconnected intelligence spans across the globe. For those with a particular eye for South Korean aviation, please see below for our latest analysis of the country’s developments….

  • ADEX 2021: KF-21 Boramae to take centre-stage (read more)
  • ADEX 2021: Uncrewed aircraft to feature strongly in Seoul (read more)
  • ADEX 2021: Persistent threat from North Korea drives RoKAF modernisation (read more)
  • South Korea to buy 1,000 more UAVs by 2027 (read more)
  • South Korea advances space force plans (read more)
  • South Korean military to deploy VTOL UAVs for coastal surveillance and reconnaissance (read more)
  • South Korea testing several new missiles amid tensions with Pyongyang (read more)
  • South Korea to start trial operations of ‘grenade-launching' and ‘small modular' UAVs in 2022 (read more)
  • KAI to support Boeing in upgrading RoKAF's E-737 AEW&C aircraft (read more)    
  • Korean Air begins research on RoKAF-commissioned project to launch space rockets using commercial aircraft (read more)
  • Korean Air to bid for second Baekdu ISR project (read more)

Pakistan Army holds induction ceremony for VT4 MBT

by Gabriel Dominguez & Samuel Cranny-Evans

A screengrab from video footage released by Pakistan's ISPR on 30 June showing PA personnel testing a VT4 MBT at an undisclosed location in Pakistan. The VT4 was formally inducted into PA service in a ceremony held on 12 October at Gujranwala. (ISPR)

The Pakistan Army (PA) has formally inducted the China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) VT4 main battle tank (MBT) into service.

Video footage released by the Samaa news channel on 13 October shows several examples of the third-generation MBT being displayed at a commissioning ceremony held a day earlier at Gujranwala – home to the PA's XXX Corps (30 Corps) and 37th Mechanised Infantry Division – that was also attended by Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Gen Bajwa, who not only witnessed a demonstration of the tank but also examined a ‘dynamic integrated training simulator', referred to the VT4 as “another symbol of [the] Pakistan–China strategic co-operation and defence collaboration”, adding that “its induction will boost [the] strike capabilities of our formations”. The VT4 is now the most advanced MBT in the PA's inventory.

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Partner 2021: Serbia integrates Russian unmanned weapon stations on Lazar III A1 ACVs

by Dmitry Fediushko

The Lazar III A1 ACV armed with the Russian-made 32V01 unmanned combat module. (Dmitry Fediushko)

Serbia's Yugoimport has integrated Russian-designed 32V01 and AU-220M remotely operated weapon stations (ROWS) on to its new Lazar III A1 family of armoured combat vehicles (ACVs). The modified platforms were unveiled at the Partner 2021 international defence show in Belgrade, Serbia, between 11 and 14 October.

The Lazar III A1 with the 32V01 ROWS carries a modification of the module with a Shipunov 2A42 30 mm automatic cannon, a Kalashnikov PKTM 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun, and six Tucha-family smoke dischargers in two banks on either side of the turret. The armament suite enables the vehicle to engage targets at distances of up to 4,000 m via its main weapon.

The platform produces a top speed of 110 km/h, has a turning radius of 11.5 m, and can cross a 2 m trench or a 1.6 m water obstacle. The vehicle has also retained its organic troop-carrying capacity.

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

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