By Luca Peruzzi
Unveiled officially by Leonardo during the Euronaval virtual exhibition last October, the new family of Lionfish small calibre Naval Remotely-controlled Weapon Stations (NRWS) has already gained market success. During the May 5th online webinar on the new Lionfish 12.7 mm and 20 mm and Marlin 30 and 40 mm NRWSs, Marco Fani, the Head of Naval & Underwater Defence Systems Business Development, announced that the new three small calibre NRWS equipped with a 12.7 mm gun and including the Lionfish’s 12.7 Ultralight, 12.7 Inner Reloading and 12.7 Top, “have already a launch customer”, these systems having been selected or contracted by an undisclosed operator. Detailed by EDR On-Line in a news report published during Euronaval virtual exhibition (click HERE for the article), the two new generation families of 12.7-20 mm Lionfish and 30-40 mm Marlin NRWS “have been developed by Leonardo to face the threats of modern operational scenarios with enhanced performances, light weight and compact design”.
The two new families of NRWS are aimed first at lighter combatant vessels, such as Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and smaller patrol or combatant craft, which would adopt them as main armament, but can also be considered for providing larger and combatant platforms such as corvettes, frigates and destroyers with improved inner layer defence capabilities. The smaller Lionfish 12.7 Ultralight NRWS with an overall weight of less than 180 kg without the ready-to-fire 12.7 mm 250 rounds, further reduced by 10 kg thanks to an optimization weight activity with respect to previous released data, has been video showed on board the SWAD (Sea Watch Dog) Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) developed by an industrial team led by Leonardo during live firing trials at high-speed in the Gulf of La Spezia. The same video highlighted the innovative and user friendly Local Control Console (LCC) featuring a 1280×1024 resolution 17-inch color touch-screen with two ergonomic multifunction joysticks which allows high dynamic tracking engagements.
The Ultralight version has already been successfully tested in remotely-controlled firing trials by ground control stations on board the SWAD USV, satisfying the NATO STANAG 4817 requirements in terms of remotely controlling, searching, tracking, identifying and firing the weapon once the USV is used as an autonomous vehicle during operations. The Leonardo representative also detailed the Lionfish Inner Reloading NRWS with an overall weight of less than 215 kg without ammunitions, and capable to be reloaded by personnel from under deck or bridge, and the top-tier Lionfish Top NRWS available in both 12.7 and 20 mm calibre, with an overall weight of respectively less than 300 kg – further reduced from the previous released 325 kg – and only 450 kg without ammunition. “All three Lionfish 12.7 mm NRWS – Ultralight, Inner Reloading and Top – have been qualified, while the Lionfish Top 20 mm is to complete activities at the beginning of 2022”, the Leonardo representative said during the webinar.
Leveraging the technology and experience acquired by Leonardo on the 76/62 SR and 127/64 LW gun systems, the new Lionfish family mounts in both 12.7 and 20 mm calibres are fully stabilised in elevation and azimuth thanks to new powerful servo-systems in closed loop with two independent gyros, while two tachometers ensure backup stabilisation. The new Lionfish family is a true over-deck non-penetrating product range of NRWS, where all elements previously located under the rotation have been repositioned. All the Lionfish NRWSs also employ a new and more capable family of coaxial electro-optical sensors suite including an infrared uncooled camera for weapon stations equipped the 12.7 mm machine gun, or a cooled model for the Lionfish Top with the Oerlikon 20 mm KAE gun, as well as the new common Logic Control & Move Unit (LCMU), the brain of the NRWSs, alongside the new Local Control Console (LCC) with joysticks.
Click HERE to see the video
All images courtesy Leonardo