No need to introduce Nexter’s Narwhal 20 mm remotely operated turret. In service with French and export customers, the remote controlled weapon system (RCWS) is getting new capabilities, among them is the Akeron MP missile from MBDA.
Packing more punch
The Akeron MP, known in the French Army as the « missile moyenne portée » (MMP), gives an extra firepower and range to the RCWS. While the 20 mm gun fires at target up to 2,000 meters, the two Akeron MP mounted on the turret have a 4,000 to 5,000 meters range.
Nexter told Naval News at Euronaval 2022:
« There is a requirement and a desire from our various customers to have more firepower on the weapons they already have, hence the idea of coupling the Narwhal to the Akeron ».
Besides upgrading existing systems, these capability is proposed to new customers.
« Depending on the feedback collected during Euronaval, we will have integration and qualifications to finalize », the French group said. These steps are already scheduled for 2023.
Integrating a missile on the Narwhal was « very simple », Nexter said. « It is based on a mechanical interface and a cable that connects with the electronic box of the Narwhal ». The two armaments management systems are interdependent. The two devices communicate to orient the turret and align the missile on its target.
Shortening the sensor-to-shooter loop
Hensoldt’s Short-Range Pointer (SRP) is a portable pointer developed to protect ship against residual and time-critical threats in close-in-defence context. With the SRP, watchkeepers can quickly aim at any visually detected threats, such as UAV and USV or asymmetric threats. By pulling the trigger, the SRP operator shortens the sensor-to-shooter loop sending instantaneously accurate designation to RCWS like the Narwhal and guns from 12.7 to 76 mm.
The system is completely « Combat Management System agnostic » and does not need CMS to work, making it suitable for all warships from fast interceptors and patrol vessels to frigates and destroyers. Robust and intuitive, it does not need a specialized training.
Relying on a removable rechargeable battery pack providing more than 10 hours of autonomy, the SRP can be used indoors, outdoors on rear deck and docks, and even on a deported fast vessel located up to 8 Nm from the mother ship hosting the SRP base unit. Weighing less than 3 kg, the SRP features an accuracy of <1° bearing and elevation.
Third and last addition to the Narwhal environment, Nexter developed a portable training simulation system allowing sailors to practice different scenarios either aboard their ship or at a training center.
The human-machine interface (HMI) is identical, « which makes it possible to have a very operational approach », Nexter comments. Within the French Navy, sailors currently today train on a unique and real RCWS. The new solution brings the simulation tool closer to the users. « The objective is also not to have to engage all the safety procedures inside the boat to train on specific equipment », Nexter adds.
Depending on customer needs, the software may be adapted to include new scenarios, functionalities and ammunitions, such as the Akeron MP.