Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) is testing a range of new remotely operated weapon stations for its Barys (Mbombe) and Arlan (Marauder) armoured vehicles, with a naval version also being developed.
According to Informburo.kz, which was given a demonstration of the weapons systems, they are based on a single common platform but available in different versions including the Ansar for the Barys, the lightweight Sunkar for the Arlan and the Turan naval version for Kazakh patrol boats.
The Ansar is equipped with a Shipunov 2A72 30 mm automatic cannon, a Kalashnikov PKTM 7.62 mm machinegun and six smoke grenade launchers. Four anti-tank guided missiles (or Shmel rocket launchers) can be attached to the sides of the turret.
The Sunkar remotely operated weapons station (ROWS) is equipped with an NSVT (Utyos) 12.7 mm heavy machinegun and a Kalashnikov PKT 7.62 mm machinegun. This has a maximum elevation of 88 degrees and can slew at 110 degrees per second.
The CEO of KPE, Erbol Salimov, said the weapon systems were completely new and customised to Kazakh specifications as Russian, Turkish and European manufacturers did not want to transfer technology for local manufacture. Once production for Kazakhstan is completed, the weapon systems may be exported.
KPE has established its Weapon Systems Engineering subsidiary to manufacture the weapon systems, which feature common items such as backup manual firing capability, remote control and sensor suite which includes thermal imager, laser rangefinder, meteorological station, muzzle velocity radar and ballistic calculator. An automatic target tracker allows simultaneous tracking of up to five objects.
Paramount has previously displayed weapons turrets on its Mbombe, with the company showcasing the 8×8 Mbombe 8 in Kazakhstan in 2016 with a Russian AU-220M remote turret armed with 57 mm cannon and a 7.62 mm machine gun. The remotely operated turret was developed by Russia’s Burevestnik.
Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering can produce up to 200 vehicles a year and has one of the biggest armoured vehicle factories in the region. The facility, which opened in 2015, can produce the full range of Paramount’s vehicles. Arlans entered service with Kazakhstan’s military in 2016, while KPE is building Barys 6 and 8 vehicles for the Ministry of Defence. Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering also manufactures the Alan armoured car – this is the SandCat built under license from Israel’s Plasan.