The French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA), on January 16, awarded NEXTER and its co-contractor Naval Group a contract for the modernization of the Narwhal 20B Remote Weapon System (RWS) fitted aboard all French Navy surface vessels. This upgraded version will bring a number of improvements to the existing RWS.
It is within this framework that the IPD has been tested to support the requirements of the upgraded version of equipment. As a matter of fact, the IPD has the ability to couple with any RWS and the coupling with the NEXTER gun has already proven its efficiency, as announced during the EURONAVAL 2018 exhibition.
With a sometimes-difficult sea state, particular attention was paid to the performance of the IPD on “Asymmetric Threat” type targets by operating dedicated trials. Various tests including rigid-hulled inflatable boat(RHIB) and helicopters detection &pursuit (50-70 knots) but also live firing were conducted on surface & air targets such as air balloons, small crafts, cherry killers (small-scale tomato killers less than 2 meters side), distress rockets as well as multiple targets.
During the trial campaign, the speed and accuracy of the delivered 3D designation data with the aim sight and the quality of the IPD zoom-in camerawere a real contribution especially for the video return for the gunner on the bridge, validating that the RWS and the IPD reticles correspond at all times. The French Navy was able to detect an RHIB coming in their direction with a long 2.7Nm distance. They were able to recognize the RHIB-type vessel at a distance of 1.6Nmand when the RHIB was still 0.5Nmaway, they detected with certainty the number of persons onboard.
Moreover, there was no parallax effect detected while different configurations, such as stationary operator performing one rotation, several steps movements around the base and free movements, were performed within a radius of 5m. The relative position of the operator with respect to theIPD installation position, the Narwhal 20B position, was not influent.
Trials were cleared with great satisfaction onboard and a real appreciation of the IPD contribution to the Narwhal 20B considering the reduction of the reaction time, minimizing sensor-to-shooter loop, and its outstanding accuracy, following the cherry killer up to 3000 meters.
SEAOWL TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS plans to continue development work on the IPD – Narwhal 20B coupling throughout 2020, with an aim to achieve continuous deployment of the system for real-life operations. The ultimate objective is to deliver a system that complements and enhances the capabilities of the RWS, considerably improving man-machine interface.
About the Intuitive Pointing Device
The Intuitive Pointing Device (IPD) is the latest generation of sea proven hand-held designators. It replaces the Quick Pointing Device (QPD), the old generation manufactured by SEAOWL TECHNOLOGYSOLUTIONS (formerly Sofresud).
To minimize sensor-to-shooter loop in time-sensitive scenarios, the IPD integrates the outstanding performances of human perception to bring Remote Weapon Systems (RWS) with crucial capabilities.
First, by widening the narrow field ofview of their tracking optronics thanks to the reflex action of an operator benefiting of a larger peripheral vision.
Second, by providing instantaneous accurate Pre-Designation (3D coordinates and day/night imageries) of any air, surface or land residual threat directly to the Remote Weapon System, without passing by the Combat Management System, allowing reactive target detection, acquisition, location, identification &direct designation. SEAOWL TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS’ QPD/IPD, renowned for their mobility and outstanding accuracy, equip more than 70 warships of some 10 leading Navies around the world.