The two R400 Remote Weapon Systems to be utilised for training purposes were delivered on schedule. It is planned for a further 80 systems to be supplied during the course of the project. All EOS systems for LAND 400 Phase 2 will be built in Australia in Queanbeyan, NSW, and Hume, ACT, and utilise components from approximately 70 Australian suppliers.
Dr Warwick Holloway, president of EOS Defence Systems in Australia, welcomed the project milestone, saying, "The handover of these two systems marks a significant milestone for EOS. The systems join the over 230 in-service EOS remote weapon systems and will deliver significant improvements in operational effectiveness and cost of ownership for Australia’s combat forces."
The R400S-Mk2-D-HD is capable of mounting weapons in single and dual configurations from 5.56mm to 12.7mm calibre as well 40mm automatic grenade launchers, 30mm lightweight cannons and anti-tank guided missiles.
The EOS R400S-Mk1 remote weapon station entered ADF service in 2007 and has been in continuous operational service in Iraq and Afghanistan on the Army’s Bushmaster Protected Mobility vehicles for the last 12 years. The R400S-Mk1 RWS had previously been developed for Phase 1 of the US Army’s Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station Program (CROWS 1) and from 2004 it was deployed on a range of platforms including the M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank for operations in Iraq.
EOS has continued to evolve and develop the R400 family with a focus on improving the systems engagement precision, power management, stabilisation and sensor performance. This effort has now produced the R400S-Mk2 Direct drive Heavy Duty version (R400Mk2 D-HD) series of medium Remote Weapon Stations which are now in-service with five international customers.
The R400S-Mk2-D-HD is available in a number of forms including a marinised version, a dual weapon version supporting a lightweight 30mm cannon with coaxial machine gun and ATGM and a 4th axis of motion option on the sensor unit to allow for optimised engagement performance against high speed transients such as small UAVs.
The R400 Mk2s being acquired by the ADF have been integrated with common architectures like the Australian Generic Vehicle Architecture, the Thales ICS and US Army robotic vehicle control systems. It can also cued by a battlefield management system, such as the Australian BMSC2, and associated cuing sensors such as radars for counter-UAS missions or shot detection systems.
The system, with its sophisticated suite of sensors, is fully stabilised and networked and allows the weapons operator to remotely operate the weapon while protected inside the vehicle.
"These are the first two of the latest generation remote weapon systems built for the Australian Defence Force from EOS state-of the-art manufacturing facility in Hume," Dr Holloway added.
The $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 program will have Rheinmetall deliver 211 8x8 Boxer CRVs to the Australian Army. Under the company's offering to the Commonwealth, Rheinmetall will build a majority of the vehicles at the company's specialised Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Queensland.
The first 25 vehicles will be built in Germany as part of the technology transfer process, with the remaining vehicles to be built in Australia. Boxer will replace the ageing ASLAV vehicles that have served with the Australian Army in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Army will accept 133 reconnaissance variants of the Boxer, which will be equipped with Rheinmetall’s cutting-edge Lance 30mm automatic cannon turret system.
Joint venture partners Varley Rafael will supply the Spike LR2 Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) system for the Boxer CRV. The Spike LR2 is a fifth-generation ATGM system, originally developed as a fire-and-forget system.
The vehicle-mounted extended-range variant has a range of eight kilometres, while the non-line-of-sight variant can hit targets up to 25 kilometres away. The Boxer CRV will support Australian industry, sourcing specialised armoured steel from Australian steel companies BlueScope Steel and Bisalloy, with engineering support provided by Melbourne-based Supacat Asia-Pacific.