BAE Systems debuts new tactical turrets


BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa today unveiled new versions of its SD-ROW and TRT remotely operated gun turrets, which will be displayed at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition starting tomorrow.

BAE demonstrated its Self Defence Remotely Operated Weapon (SD-ROW) on an RG-32 vehicle at a range outside Pretoria today. The system is designed to be lightweight and cost effective and fills a gap in the market for a low-cost system. It is designed to carry a 7.62 machinegun – the version demonstrated today fired an FN MAG, but other weapons, such as the Russian RPK, are available.

The SD-ROW system has existed in 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm offerings, but the new version can mount 12.7 mm and 20 mm weapons (12.7 x 76 mm and 20 x 42 mm).

Gerrie van der Merwe, Business Development Manager at BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa, said the system is designed to be affordable, light and simple to use, especially on small vehicles. A key factor was reducing weight and the total system weights just 75 kg, including 200 rounds of ammunition. It uses a day camera for targeting, but a laser rangefinder and infrared camera are optional extras. A stabilisation system enables it to engage targets whilst on the move. Traverse is 110 degrees a second and elevation is 85 degrees, which van der Merwe said would be useful in urban warfare situations.

Creating more of an impression at the demonstration today was BAE Systems’ newly designed tactical remote turret, the TRT-R30MK. The 30 mm Tactical Remote Turret was demonstrated with a Russian 2A42 30 x 165 mm cannon mounted on an Iklwa armoured vehicle, which is an upgraded Ratel infantry fighting vehicle (the turret has also been integrated on BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle). The cannon fired high explosive shells at a target over a kilometre downrange, scoring perfect hits and setting it ablaze. Single shots as well as the maximum 600 round per minute burst were demonstrated on several targets. Standard firing rate is 125 rounds per minute for best accuracy.

The TRT-R30MK is an evolution of the TRT-25 25 mm cannon. It can be adapted to carry various NATO cannons, including the Mk 44 Bushmaster. The weapon demonstrated today was housed in an unprotected turret in order to save weight and cost, but armour can be added. The turret’s control station can be integrated anywhere in the vehicle allowing for increased internal space for crew or extra payload. The system is equipped with electro-mechanical drives and high performance sight equipment (infrared camera and laser rangefinder) to allow for all round observation, fast reaction time and accurate firing on the move during day and night operation.

Two bins of ammunition were located in the turret aboard the Iklwa, along with a coaxial machinegun with 1 000 rounds of ammunition and smoke grenade launchers. In addition, the 30 mm version of the TRT can carry two anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), including Russian and NATO designs, as well as the South African Ingwe. The TRT on display at the African Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2012 exhibition in Pretoria will be fitted with two Russian Konkurs ATGMs.
“The TRT family of turrets provides soldiers with a spectrum of self-protection and ground fire support capability, combined with the safety of an armoured protected vehicle,” said Johan Steyn, managing director, Land Systems South Africa.

Van der Merwe emphasised that the turrets (with the exception of some Sagem camera equipment) were developed completely by South Africa and remained the intellectual property of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa. This means that changes and modifications can be made in house and neither turret contains any systems which are subject to US export control regulations.

BAE Systems will be displaying the TRT at AAD on the company’s RG-41 vehicle. The company will be bringing five vehicles and four turrets to the exhibition. Some of the vehicles will conduct demonstrations every day at 11:00 and 14:00.