27/9/2023 – Ukrainian and NATO ground forces are being strengthened in part by Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace remote weapon stations (RWS). The Norwegian-based company and its prolific RWS have become a major part of the effort to rearm and modernize forces in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion. Since the invasion Kongsberg has been awarded programs to provide hundreds of RWS to NATO allies including the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Canada, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Some of these RWSs feature ATGM and counter-unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) capabilities. Many of these systems are being provided to NATO Allies via the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Sales program, which seeks to build up forces and allies, with continued emphasis on Eastern Europe.
What started with the urgent updating of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2CR) in Germany in 2018 has grown significantly as part of the Allied response to the conflict. Initially Kongsberg, the world’s largest RWS provider, was part of a 2018 Urgent Needs response to Russia’s previous invasion of Ukraine. This effort armed 2CR with RWSs featuring the Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and new 30mm remote turrets. Both systems have been successfully deployed in repeated show of force operations supporting NATO allies bordering the conflict.
When Russia invaded again, NATO Allies ordered Kongsberg’s newest RWS to backfill ground vehicle systems those allies were providing to Ukraine. Further, this spring the U.S. Army provided Ukraine’s 82nd Air Assault Brigade with Kongsberg RWS-armed Strykers in preparation for the Spring Offensive, with another batch of Strykers anticipated to follow. Media reports last week indicate these Strykers were pivotal in Ukrainian efforts to break through Russian defensive lines.
In August, Kongsberg also signed a contract with the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) to deliver C-UAS systems that will be donated to war-torn nation. The solution is based on field-proven software and hardware from Teledyne FLIR Defense and Kongsberg, including the Cerberus XL advanced thermal/visual imaging system with highly sensitive radar sensors that rapidly locates and tracks UAS targets, together with the Kongsberg RWS and Kongsberg CORTEX Integrated Combat Solution (ICS), a fielded lethality network that allows for networked and cooperative engagement to disable and defeat drones.
The IFU was established by the UK and international partners to identify and procure critical capabilities and deliver them quickly to Ukraine. Norway and the UK are among many nations that have contributed to the fund.
System deliveries are ongoing and more programs are on the immediate horizon to supply additional NATO allies like Poland and Bulgaria with these advanced lethality capabilities, often paired with sale of U.S. Abrams tanks and Stryker combat vehicles.
Photo courtesy Kongsberg. Caption: Ukrainian and NATO ground forces are being strengthened in part by Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace remote weapon stations (RWS).