Small-sized boats, onto which remotely operated weapon systems (RWS) cannot be integrated for various reasons, are gaining efficient firepower thanks to an innovative solution. Within the framework of the Technology Acquisition Liability Program, implemented by the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), “Active-Balanced Weapon Mount”, an ongoing project of Samsun Yurt Savunma (SYS) and its subcontractor with area-specific expertise, has been gearing up to change the rules of the game.
A Need for Specific Solution
The countries with wide continental shelves or maritime zones divided by the hundreds of islands prefer relatively small-sized surface platforms to protect their borders on their inland seas due to their high-speed manoeuvring capacity accompanied with high striking power. On the other hand, RWSs cannot be a feasible option for these small-sized boats because of the relatively larger size of their footprints on the platforms, their costs and the limited situational awareness provided to the operators (“soda straw” field of view effect). Hence, the weapon operator’s ability to track all the developments in his field of vision and suppress the targets in this area come forward as the most critical necessities on such types of platforms like assault boats.
Simple weapon mounts for guns provide the broadest field of view; however, the operators using these systems suffer from physical fatigue resulting from the harsh marine conditions, and their stress levels increase following the magnitude of risks brought in by the mission. The operator’s mind is occupied with detecting and identifying the threats while trying to keep his body in balance on a moving platform. Apart from them, at the moments of engagement, the duty to keep the weapon aimed at the target and suppress the target with adequate firepower becomes more significant. In these circumstances, the operator naturally experiences both physical and mental fatigue at the highest level.
In such a scene drawn above, no matter how efficient they are in terms of ballistics, these weapons cannot operate in the marine conditions as efficient as they do on a fixed installation on land. The performance of the weapons exposed to distortionary effects of the sea is solely dependent on the capabilities and initiatives of the operator. As a result, the overdependence on the operator adversely affects the unique ability expected from the platform and reduces the crew’s self-confidence.
Solution: Active-Balanced Weapon Mount
Active-Balanced Weapon Mount is being designed as a semi-robotic system minimizing the distortionary effects of the sea and taking the harmony among the operator, the weapon, and the platform to the maximum level. Within the Technology Acquisition Liability Program framework, the system is being developed by an expert engineering firm in the scope of the Indigenous Pistol Development Project Contract signed between SSB and SYS. With its intellectual and industrial property rights belonging to SSB, the design will be presented to the Turkish Naval Forces and the export market.
Eliminating the adverse effects of simple weapon mounts, Active-Balanced Weapon Mount is composed of the following:
- The weapon Operator is the brain of the system. In this concept, where a screen limits neither the sight nor the detection speed of the human brain surrendered to a computer, the operator can make quick decisions based on the peripheral awareness achieved via his existential inheritance.
- The primary weapon of the system is the 12.7×99 mm calibre platform-mounted indigenous machine gun. Located at the top of Active-Balanced Weapon Mount, the 12.7 mm calibre heavy machine gun is preparing to take back its well-deserved place on mainly marine platform thanks to its reliability defying the years, high level of effective firing range, and finally, its destructive impact over the targets.
- Active-Balanced Weapon Mount will be equipped with inertial measurement units (IMU) with varying sensitivity levels so that the command received from the brain of the operator can be perceived accurately. Additionally, it can also keep the barrel within the specified range and within specified Minutes of Angle, thanks to its software, whose firing control algorithm have been developed by the subcontractor.
- To increase the sensitivity and hit rate of the system, simple but handy accessories will be included in the system. Samsun Yurt Savunma is working in cooperation with the other stakeholders in the sector to develop these accessories.
Active-Balanced Weapon Mount is planned to be ready for mass production by the first quarter of 2023, after completing calibration tests.