Thursday, June 10, 2010

BAE Systems South Africa smart turret/RG41 armoured fighting vehicle

Written by Leon Engelbrecht
Thursday, 10 June 2010 06:26

BAE Systems South Africa will be displaying a new fire-on-the-move Tactical Response Turret (TRT) on its new RG41 8x8 mine-protected wheeled armoured combat vehicle at next week's Eurosatory defence show in Paris, France.

Operated by one person, the overhead remote-controlled turret provides self protection and ground support for light armoured vehicles (LAV), mine-resistant armour protected vehicles and infantry combat vehicles and will be competitively-priced, the company says.

The self-contained turret, as designed, can be fitted with a US Alliant Techsystems M242 Bushmaster 25mm cannon – or similar-sized weapons ranging from 20 to 30mm – as well as an co-axial M240 (FN MAG) machine gun. Armoured bins allow for 1000 7.62x51mm NATO rounds and 260 25x137mm rounds in two magazines of 130 rounds each. In addition, the turret is fitted with four 76mm smoke launchers. Traverse is all-round and elevation is from -10 to +65 degrees. Mechanical or software-controlled interruptors are available to restrict movement in azimuth in order to create “prohibited zones”.

BAE Systems says the turret weighs 800kg of which some half is the weapon and ammunition. On a typical LAV such as those derived from the MOWAG Piranha, the TRT offers a weight saving of 1200kg. It is also a major space-saver, the company avers. The TRT is typically 1100mm high and 1320mm wide. Traverse is at 1.8 rad/s, 103 degrees a second or 3.5 seconds to circle, elevation is 1.5 ad/s or 85 degrees a second. Stabilisation is “better than 0.5 rad/s” while operational on the move while laying accuracy is better than 150 Rad with automatic optical tracking after manual lock-on.

The standard sighting sensor system allows for identification by day at 1000m and by night at 750m in terms of STANAG 4347), while the Vectronics 3042 laser range finder ranges to 5km. A “high performance” suite offers identification by day at 2500m and 1600m at night. The suite's Carl Zeiss laser range finder does so at 12km. In both cases a further commanders' observation sight is available.

The turret was developed by Land Systems SA's Dynamics business – the former IST Dynamics, acquired in September 2008 and the “non-complex” man machine interface or “battle station” can be positioned anywhere in the carrier vehicle. An optional commander's station is available. The fire control system (FCS) includes a fully-integrated ballistic computer, an integrated automatic video auto-tracker, aim-point adjustment based on target speed and distance as well as a continuous electronic zoom combined with a fixed field of vision. Optional is a patent-pending “rapid-target designation” system available to the commander. Further options include the integration of the FCS with onboard command-and-control suites or battle management systems, GPS and navigation means as well as a laser warning and shot detection system. Additional armour protection is also available, BAE Systems product literature adds.
The new RG41 armoured fighting vehicle and Tactical Remote Turret (TRT) that BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa will formally launch on to the world market at next week’s Eurosatory defence exhibition in Paris in France are both entirely South African in design and development.

The TRT with 25 mm Bushmaster cannon, mounted on an RG34 vehicle

Both were developed with our own research and development funding and in both cases the intellectual property is owned by Land Systems South Africa,” highlighted company marketing and communications manager Natasha Pheiffer to Engineering News Online on Thursday. “We are busy patenting one of the TRT’s features – its rapid target designation capability.”

BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa is 75%-owned by the global group BAE Systems and 25% by local, and black-empowered, company DGD Technologies, and comprises three divisions.

The new RG41 armoured vehicle

The RG41 is the latest in a long and successful line of armoured and mine-protected vehicles from BAE Systems Land Systems OMC, which is based in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, while the TRT comes from Pretoria-domiciled BAE Systems Land Systems Dynamics. (The third division is located in Alrode, which is south of Johannesburg, and is BAE Systems Land Systems Gear Ratio).

“The RG41 was developed to meet a general requirement noted by us in the world market, as was the TRT,” she explained. “We saw a gap in the market for turrets and ours is a cost-effective design.”

The company is not yet in any talks with possible customers for either system. “We will start to gauge the interest at Eurosatory next week.”

The RG41 is an 8 x 8 wheeled armoured fighting vehicle which is 7,78 m long, 2,8 m wide and 2,357 m high (hull only). It can carry a crew of three, plus an infantry section of eight.

Its payload capacity is 11 t and it has a gross vehicle mass of 30 t, and, powered by a Deutz 2015TCD V6 diesel engine, can reach a maximum speed of 100 km/h.

The RG41 is a mine-protected, modular design capable of being repaired in the field, with high mobility and a comfortable ride because it has a specially modified hydro-pneumatic suspension. The vehicle employs many commercial-off-the-shelf components and does not employ any American components that are subject to US International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

The TRT is designed to be operated by one person and to be able to be fitted to a wide range of armoured vehicles. Equipped with electromechanical drives it has a unique functionality which allows for rapid acquisition of, and locking on to, targets. It can rotate 360˚ in a time of 3,5 seconds, and elevate from -10˚ to +65˚.

It can be fitted with day monochrome or colour charge-coupled device cameras and a thermal night camera for target detection and combines “game-boy” style controls with a 104 mm liquid crystal display screen. The vehicle commander can also be provided with a sight for the TRT.

Currently, the TRT is equipped with a McDonnel Douglas M242 Bushmaster 25-mm cannon and a 7,62-mm co-axial machine gun, but can be adjusted to take alternative weapons up to 30-mm in calibre.


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