Kongsberg to upgrade Australia's Protector stations

Jan. 10, 2014 at 2:03 AM
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CANBERRA, Australia, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Kongsberg has won a $15.1 million deal to upgrade all 59 of Australia's Protector M151 remote weapons stations for light armored vehicles.

The Australian Defense Force purchased the stations from the Norwegian weapons systems supplier in 2004 for delivery in a several year period.

The equipment was part of a rapid acquisition to ready Australia's light armored vehicle fleet for duties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The upgrade contract calls for Australia to deliver the stations back to Kongsberg in Norway. Kongsberg said it will begin returning the upgraded equipment in September.

Kongsberg said it's Protector series is designed for small and medium caliber weapons and can be installed on any platform. It allows operation of the weapon from within a protected location, such as the sealed cab of a light armored vehicle.

Protector variants include a sea system and light, super light and medium caliber versions.

Other countries using Protector include the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Canada and the United States, Kongsberg said.

The company announced in early 2010 that it had won a contract worth about $92 million to supply more than 10,000 Protector systems to the U.S. Army as part of the military's Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations framework agreement.

Australia also is upgrading its networked weapon training simulation systems that have been supplied by Meggitt since 1999.

Since then Meggitt has undertaken two upgrades and recently won another contract worth about $18 million under the Hardened and Networked Army and Enhanced Land Force Phase 3 program.

Meggitt will provide hardware and software upgrades to 18 weapon training systems including the addition of mortar crew training.

The contract includes developing and delivering simulators for 52mm to 81mm mortars, .50-caliber heavy machine guns, BlueFire Browning pistols and an 84mm Carl Gustav anti-tank weapon.

Kongsberg's Australian division also is a subcontractor to BAE Systems, supplying an engine room simulator for engineers who will serve aboard Australia's two new landing helicopter dock ships.

The hulls including flight decks for the Canberra-class vessels -- the Canberra and Adelaide -- have been built by Navantia in Spain.

The hull for the second of the two ships, the Adelaide, is on its way by cargo vessel to Melbourne for completion by BAE Systems Australia.

Kongsberg also signed a contract last month with the New Zealand Defense Force for an undisclosed number of Penguin Mk 2 Mod 7 anti-ship missiles and associated equipment.

The missiles will be deployed on the New Zealand navy's new Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite maritime helicopters, Kongsberg said in a written statement.

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