Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering tests new combat stations for wheeled AFVs

Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE) Kazakh-South African joint venture has been developing a common range of remotely operated weapon stations (ROWSs) for ground and sea applications, according to the news agency Informburo.KZ.

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KPE Barys (Picture source: Army Recognition)

According to a story published by Infromburo.KZ writer Grigory Bedenko, the new family is based on a single platform and integrates three unmanned combat stations, namely, the heavy Ansar (Strong Intention) for the Barys (Snow Leopard; a license-built copy of South African Paramount Group’s Mbombe 8/Mbombe 6 combat vehicle) 8x8/6x6 armored fighting vehicle (AFV), the light Sunkar (Falcon) for the Arlan (Sea Eagle, a licensed copy of Paramount Group’s Marauder 4x4 armored car) 4x4 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle, and the Turan (Pedestal) marinized weapon station for the Kazakh patrol ships deployed to the Caspian Sea. "All the combat modules are built upon the Shugyla common platform that integrates a unified combat-management system with common software," said the journalist.

CEO of KPE Erbol Salimov told Informburo.KZ that the new modules had been developed from scratch. "We thoroughly studied all Russian-made [remotely operated weapon] stations, the best Turkish-made modules, and the European-designed developments that could be integrated with our Barys 8x8 and Barys 6x6 AFVs. During the negotiations, we concluded that no country involved in them was willing to transfer technologies as the capacity of the Kazakh ROWS market is very small <…> We, therefore, decided that Kazakhstan master such manufacturing and produce its own [unmanned weapon stations]," said Salimov.

To this end, KPE has established a new subsidiary, namely, the Weapon Systems Engineering company, which specializes in the development of indigenous software. "We have also founded a design bureau, which has begun developing the Ansar, Surkan, and Turan modules from the scratch," said Salimov.

According to KPE, the Ansar ROWS is armed with a Shipunov 2A72 30 mm automatic cannon in a sleeve, a Kalashnikov PKTM 7.62 mm general-purpose machinegun, and six Tucha-family smoke dischargers. Four ready-use anti-tank guided missiles (or Shmel (Bumblebee) rocket launchers) in two two-cell protected banks can be attached to the sides of the turret. "The new combat modules have been developed in accordance with the requirements released by the Kazakh Ministry of Defense [MoD]. This list includes manned below-the-turret-ring space, manual firing mode as a backup option, remote control, a sensor suite integrating a thermal imaging sighting system, laser rangefinder, optics, meteorological station, muzzle velocity radar, and ballistic calculator, and the capability of under-armor reloading. An automatic target tracker allows simultaneous tracking of up to five objects. Owing to high traverse speed, which is no less than 110• per second, the station can track and engage low-flying aerial targets," said Salimov.

The Sunkar ROWS is intended for the Arlan 4x4 MRAP vehicle. The station is armed with an NSVT Utyos 12.7 mm heavy machinegun and a Kalashnikov PKT 7.62 mm general-purpose machinegun and has a main gun elevation angle of up to +88• and a traverse speed of 110• per second.

Russia has also offered its option of a module for the Barys AFV. At the KADEX 2016 defense show held in Astana (now Nur-Sultan), Kazakhstan, KPE showcased a modification of the Barys 8x8 vehicle armed with the AU-220M ROWS, which had been developed by Russia’s design institute Burevestnik (a subsidiary of Rostec’s concern Uralvagonzavod). However, the current status of the program is not known. It should be mentioned that KPE did not detail the Turan marinized ROWS.

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KPE Kaplan (Picture source: Army Recognition)

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