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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CIO to supply further VBM vehicles to Italian Army

by Olivia Savage

The Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium has won a contract to supply vehicles to Italian Army. Pictured is the VBM Command Post Tactical Unit vehicle. (Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium )

The Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium (CIO) signed a contract with the Italian Secretary of Defence Land Armaments Directorate on 30 December 2021 to supply 14 Mortar Carrier Veicolo blindato medio (VBMs), 26 Command Post VBMs (13 Tactical Unit and 13 Command Unit versions), and six 10×10 rescue and recovery vehicles.

The CIO Consortium is an equal partnership between Iveco Defence Vehicles and Leonardo.

The contract forms part of an ongoing delivery of (Phase 2) medium armoured vehicles to the Italian Army's Second Medium Brigade, including an upgraded ‘PLUS' version for the VBM platform, in addition to long-term integrated logistics support for all of the platforms.


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US Army preparing to test future Long-Range Cannon prototype

by Ashley Roque

The US Army is planning to begin a two-year test series with a new Long-Range Cannon (LRC) prototype at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California beginning in October 2023, according to a Federal Register notice and the service.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posted the document on 6 January, detailing test plans and the potential impact on marine mammals. However, the document erroneously stated that this testing plan was for a future iteration of the army's Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) weapon. Instead, this document refers to a science and technology initiative formally called Strategic Long-Range Cannon that is now dubbed LRC, an army official told Janes on 18 January.

Service leaders have been interested in developing an LRC that can launch less expensive munitions out towards the 1,609 km (1,000 miles) range to hit anti-access/area denial targets such as fixed-infrastructure sites, long-range radars, command-and-control locations, hardened silos and bunkers, and communications nodes. The army has begun producing various weapon parts such as the gun tube and the carriage, while the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine conducted a feasibility study that has not yet been released to the public.


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Australian, New Zealand defence forces launch Tonga relief operations

by Jon Grevatt & Ridzwan Rahmat

The Royal Australian Navy's landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Adelaide pictured departing Sydney in support of disaster relief efforts in Tonga. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Australia and New Zealand have dispatched vessels and surveillance aircraft to assist with recovery and relief efforts in Tonga, which was hit by a tsunami caused by an underwater volcano eruption in the South Pacific on 15 January.

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) told Janes on 18 January that Australian Defence Force (ADF) assets to have been deployed in surveillance operations include a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and a C-130J transport aircraft.

A DoD spokesperson said that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is also preparing to launch an aid mission supported by its Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship HMAS Adelaide.

The spokesperson said, “At the moment, we are surveying the damage. HMAS Adelaide is on its way from Sydney to Brisbane with the aim to launch an aid mission for Tonga. But at this moment we don't yet know the full extent and scope of what that aid will be.”


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

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