Denel Vehicle Systems (DVS) believes there is a big future for its RCG30 turret, which uses the 30 mm CamGun developed by Denel Land Systems for the Badger vehicle, and is in discussions with the United Arab Emirates regarding further development of the turret.
The RCG30 turret was recently completed and is production ready, although some further qualification is needed. It is based on a structure similar to the Badger infantry combat turret but with a Denel Mechatronics fire control system. The turret is an overhead weapon system (remote turret) with the operator controlling the turret from inside the vehicle.
Abri du Plessis, Programmes and Engineering Executive at DVS, said the turret is “quite a nice package” as it is remotely operated, making it more compact than a manned system, is very accurate, shoots NATO ammunition, has no ITAR restrictions and is completely under armour, meaning that gunners are not exposed when reloading.
The RCG30 weighs approximately 2 000 kg depending on the (scalable) protection level and subsystems fitted. Range of the cannon is 3 000 metres.
Du Plessis said the turret has been fitted to an RG41 8×8 vehicle and earlier this year demonstrated to the United Arab Emirates – the vehicle and turret are still there as Denel Vehicle Systems hopes it will be invited to take part in summer trials.
The UAE is a very important customer as DVS has delivered a substantial number of N35 vehicles to the United Arab Emirates in 4×4 and 6×6 versions. DVS has also recently delivered on a contract for RG31 vehicles in the UAE. DVS also received an order from the UAE for the supply of a first prototype RG12 Mk6 internal security vehicle, with further opportunity to supply additional vehicles.
The Mechatronics division of DVS has a large portfolio of turrets, including the SDROW (Self Defence Remotely Operated Weapon) range that can take Russian and Western 5.56 and 7.62 mm machine guns; the TRT (Tactical Remote Turret) 25 mm with a Bushmaster cannon; TRT 30 mm with a Russian 2A42 cannon and the Overhead Manned Turret (OMT) that can take 7.62 or 12.7 mm machineguns or a 40 mm grenade launcher. Mechatronics also has a missile turret; the MST (Missile Stabilised Turret) equipped with four Ingwe anti-tank missiles.
Mechatronics is busy developing the SDROW Strike turret with the 20×42 mm Inkunzi Strike weapon from sister company Denel PMP.
Mechatronics has expertise in turrets for attack helicopters, having developed the turrets for the Rooivalk and Super Hind with either GIAT F2 or GI2 20×139 mm cannons. The company carries out refurbishment work on these.
Although turrets are the core business of Mechatronics, it also manufactures the LOCATS target drone, which is regularly used by the South African National Defence Force. Sighting systems are another big part of the business, with commander and gunner sights being manufactured for the Badger. In conjunction with Thales, DVS developed the Above Armour Panoramic Gunnery Sight (AAGPS) for use on armoured vehicles.
The AAGPS is used on the RCG30. It has day and thermal cameras with continuous zoom from a field-of-view of 22.5 to 1.25 degrees, allowing for target identification at ranges of 4 000 metres and 3 100 metres respectively. A laser rangefinder is effective out to 15 000 metres.
Du Plessis said it is relatively quiet on the turret side of the business, but Mechatronics has sold some SDROW turrets to Namibia and to customers of DCD Protected Mobility’s Husky route clearance vehicles.