Reflective of the growing tactical acceptance of remote weapon stations and their related technologies, ATK used the recent Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) annual meeting and exhibition to highlight its new Modular Remote Turret (MRT) design options.
As opposed to “traditional” manned vehicle turret designs with dedicated crew positions located in a basket beneath the turret structure or remote weapon stations that can expose operators to ballistic threats during reloading operations, the new MRT places the soldier inside the armored vehicle envelope for both operations and reloading.
Further tactical flexibility is achieved through MRT’s “modular” approach that allows the system to be equipped with a wide range of medium-caliber primary weapon system designs – including the ATK “chain gun” family of 30 mm M230, 25 mm M242, or 30/40 mm Mk. 44 integrated weapon systems – as well as coaxial options for a secondary weapon. Moreover, associated sights and optics can also be relocated to optimize the MRT for specific user needs.
To emphasize the flexibility, ATK representatives pointed to the turret combination exhibited during the AUSA meeting, which featured a Mk. 44 main gun with .50-caliber co-axial weapon, noting that a user could just as easily have an M230/M230LF (the M230LF is an improved version of the 30 mm cannon carried on the Apache helicopter) located where the optics were, placing the optics in the middle of the turret, and retaining the .50 caliber in its coaxial position or possibly replacing it with a 7.62 mm option.
The AUSA configuration also featured ATK’s commander’s independent weapon station with 7.62 mm chain gun on top of MRT.
“Another aspect is the way it is built, with the same weatherization and environmental protection that a marine/sea system would have,” noted an ATK spokesperson. “And even with the Mk. 44 integrated into it, it’s only about 5,000 pounds as it is right now.”
“So your soldier is protected and your ammunition is protected, with everything taking place under armor,” they added. “And you can put it on any medium weight armored vehicle. That includes Stryker, Ground Combat Vehicle – when it comes out, MRAPs, LAVs. It has a capability to be integrated on any of those without an expensive re-design.
Initial fielding of the MRT occurred in September 2010 to the Kuwaitis, who fielded four turrets featuring 30 mm M230LF main armament carried on ADVS 8×8 wheeled vehicles.