LMT develops Meerkat retractable weapon station


Land Mobility Technologies (LMT) has developed a retractable weapon station called the Meerkat, which will be unveiled at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition at AFB Waterkloof next month.

The Denel Land Systems subsidiary told IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly that the turret retracts partially into the vehicle it is mounted on and the remainder is protected by armoured clamshell doors mounted on the vehicle roof.

The 350 kg Meerkat system mounts the 110 kg Denel Mechatronics Self Defence Remotely Operated Weapon (SDROW) station, which can be fitted with 5.56 or 7.62 mm machineguns or the Denel PMP Inkunzi Strike 20×42 mm weapon while smoke grenade launchers are fitted to the outside of the clamshell doors.

According to Denel Vehicle Systems, the SDROW system can be operated by a single crewmember and has been designed for easy installation on any number of vehicles. In a typical installation, the operator aims the turret and fires the weapon using a simple Human Machine Interface (HMI), consisting of a control interface with an integrated display similar to a game console. Real-time video received from the cameras on the weapon station is displayed to the operator overlaying information digitally. All weapon functions, such as cocking and firing, are done within the cabin of the vehicle.

The basic system weighs approximately 75 kg including 200 rounds of ammunition. Typical traverse is +/-135 degrees, and maximum optional 360 degrees. Elevation is -20 to 80 degrees.

An electric mechanism elevates the Meerkat turret for use in 12 seconds and uses 24 V, 600 W power, allowing it to be used on light vehicles.

The Meerkat system will be mounted on an LM13 vehicle and armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun at AAD next month.

As a clean sheet design, the 12 ton LM13 Multipurpose Combat Vehicle was made to fit into a C-130 and as a result features a compact, low profile. It is powered by a 400 hp diesel engine driving a six speed automatic gearbox. It features certified landmine, ballistic and IED protection. It is offered in armoured personnel carrier, armoured ambulance and command and control versions.

The LM13 can seat six passengers and can be armed with different turrets that are fitted with different weapons. The one-man 12.7 mm machinegun turret has eight 76 mm smoke grenade launchers, a day camera, laser range finder, ballistic computer and thermal imager for night operations. The other turrets feature a 20×139 mm cannon, 40 mm automatic grenade launcher or 12.7 mm machinegun. The turrets are produced by Comenius Consultants.

LMT has developed armoured truck cabs and a dismountable personnel carrier module for Daimler-Benz, as well as a number of specialised mine-protected vehicles. In 2013 the company received a major order from the Middle East for the clean sheet LM13, the LM8 Special Operations Vehicle based on a Ford chassis, and LM18 protected vehicle/Prisoner Transport Vehicle. LMT is also working on the LM14 low cost armoured personnel carrier, a clean sheet design able to carry ten people. It also offers the LM13-derived LM16 high mobility armoured personnel carrier that can accommodate up to 11 people, including driver, commander and gunner.