Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Manned gun turrets on some U.S. Army Reserve Humvees are being replaced with common remotely operated weapon stations, the U.S. Army reports.
The first units to receive the CROWS in fiscal year 2017 will be military police and chemical companies.
The Army said that 27 company-sized Reserve units will eventually receive the weapons stations under a $39 million program.
"Even though it is expensive, it's keeping our No. 1 asset protected, which is our soldiers," said Army Reserve Sgt. Michael Whitaker, of the 346th Military Police Company of Fort Riley, Kan. "It's bringing our brothers and sisters home at the end of their deployment."
Traditional weapon turrets on Humvees require a soldier to stand in it to fire the weapon, leaving the soldier exposed to enemy fire. The CROWS features daytime and thermal cameras, capable of rotating 360 degrees and seeing up to 1,500 meters away. The weapon can be fired from inside the vehicle by remote control.
"They're inside the protection of the vehicle, and they can still get 360-degree view by traversing the turret," Whitaker said. "They're not up there in the turret with their heads sticking out ... where the enemy sniper can engage them easier."
CROWS, operated by Army infantry and Stryker brigade combat teams, is compatible with the M2 .50-caliber machine gun, the MK19 automatic grenade launcher, the M240B rifle and the M249 squad automatic weapon.