Kongsberg Awards MSI Contract to Supply Hand Controls for U.S. Army Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations

WALLINGFORD, CT, July 2, 2008 - Ultra Electronics Measurement Systems, Inc. (MSI) has recently received contracts worth more than $5 million from Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace to provide high reliability hand control systems for “Protector” Remote Weapons Stations. The hand controls, which are part of Kongsberg’s Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations (CROWS) program, are being mounted on a variety of U. S. military vehicles for deployment in Iraq. The CROWS systems are designed to acquire and engage targets in 360-degree coverage, while keeping the gunner safely protected inside the vehicle. The total contract award is for 1650 hand control systems with options for additional units.

Seeking Enhanced Protection for Soldiers
”Protector” Remote Weapons Stations (RWS) increase troop safety using cutting-edge technology to enhance troops’ ability to engage and defeat the enemy and by enabling operation of a vehicle’s weapons from inside the vehicle. The army’s CROWS unit is a stabilized, computer-controlled, all-weather firing platform mounted over the turret-gunner's station of an up-armored vehicle and utilizing MSI’s hand controls for remote operation. The system provides a level of safety and combat-effectiveness previously unavailable to a gunner standing exposed in a turret.

Prior to the war in Iraq, few remote weapons stations on ground vehicles were being used in the field, and the U.S. Army recognized the importance of improving gunner protection under battlefield conditions. The army began working with several contractors in the development of downscaled remote weapons stations that could be deployed on smaller combat vehicles. The result was the remote-controlled CROWS, with a sensor suite that permits target engagements under day and night conditions. CROWS brings the gunner safely inside the vehicle, giving him hand control capability and a stabilized high magnification camera system and thermal imager. Using a 13-inch color screen, the gunner is able to safely survey a much larger area with extremely high resolution, all while providing high weapon accuracy at a moment's notice.

Rugged, Lightweight Hand Control Technology
MSI incorporated its patented Hall-effect transducer technology into the hand controls for Kongsberg’s “Protector” Remote Weapons Stations. A Hall-effect sensor is a transducer that varies its output voltage in response to changes in magnetic field density. Because it is electrically non-contacting, with all circuitry and components securely encapsulated, a Hall-effect device typically is immune to water, dirt, dust, lubricants, shock and vibration, and provides a more accurate signal to the user.

These hand controls also utilize one of MSI’s most popular grip designs, currently used by U.S. and foreign military customers for many different applications, with literally tens of thousands of grips deployed throughout all branches of the military. It is a simple, ergonomic, ambidextrous hand control with a uniform and consistent feel for the gunner on all joystick directional maneuvering. The hand control system had to pass extremely stringent specifications to meet CROWS requirements, including water submergence. The quality and performance of MSI’s hand control together with the CROWS system are expected to offer the Army numerous tactical advantages in the field as part of the military’s new rapid fielding effort.

Ultra Electronics Measurement Systems Inc is the expert in precision Human Machine Interface (HMI) and electronic hardware solutions, including hand controls/grips, joysticks, trackballs and integrated systems. With the broadest line of products and accessories in the industry, and a proven track record of solving customer problems, Ultra Electronics MSI is recognized as the leading designer and manufacturer of positioning and tracking controls and electronic systems for military and commercial applications.

 

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