I've been reading on some articles recently on turrets, mainly the issue of Manned vs Unmanned (Remote) turrets.
I think two recent events have an impact on the heated discussions, these being:
|Kongsberg's MCT30 Remote Turret during demonstrations at Fort Benning, February 2014|
Remote turrets are enclosed structures with all the subsystems like the ammunition feed chutes, ammo boxes and drives are inside an armored cocoon. On the other hand RWS have an open architecture.
|Remote Turret Classification|
During operations, the the commander's capability to crack open the hatch and have a look around the vicinity provides a big advantage in terms of situational awereness.
In addition, the sighting systems in the remote turrets, cannot include direct view optics, which is also a very important for some armies such as British Army.
Another issue for the remote turrets is the difficulty of the gunner losing the feeling on the turret/barrel orientation. The gunner is located inside the hull and his sensory feedback only feels the vehicle accelerations; thus after a short while it is not uncommon for the gunner to start having difficulties on where the turret is oriented with respect to the vehicle, especially when the stabilization is turned on.
This can be overcome by utilizing easy to understand indications on the gunner's display; however still requires careful design.
One of the good articles I was reading was from the Australian Defence Technology by Ian Bostock with the title of "Pointers hint at unmanned future for CRV turret".
One of the points in the article states that Remote Turrets offer significant weight savings (the article says 1.200 to 2.000kg's) compared with a manned turret with equivalent protection levels.
I have to disagree with this statement.
Suppose you are converting a two-men turret to a remote turret keeping the protection level the same ie. STANAG 4569 Level IV. The structural elements and equipment you can totally eliminate in a remote turret are:
|The AmmoBox for 30mm Turret (GD Mk46)|
|Linkless Ammunition Feed System with Two 75 Round Ammo Boxes on Each Side of 30mm Cannon|
As size means more surface area and more surface area means weight, you dont get to save that much weight by converting to a remote turret.
|AmmoBox inside the hull for a remote turret|
However, the trick is reducing the protection level for the remote turret considering the fact that there is no crew inside. This approach would pave the way for weight reduction.
So, in my opinion, the remote turrets although offer some advantages are not the perfect solution to replace all the other turrets.
The correct answer probably lies in the configuration and mission of the vehicle, such as: