Katlanit remote control weapons station 390.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman)
What does the IDF do when its remote-control machine guns break down? The Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station, the Katlanit, produced by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is increasingly appearing on a range of IDF Ground Forces platforms, such as the Namer armored personnel carrier.
It can be fitted with a variety of powerful and accurate machine guns, allowing soldiers to control the guns through a remote control panel, and fire on enemy targets without exposing themselves to the return fire.
But when the weapons station broke down, an army technician may have to spend dangerous time in the field figuring out what went wrong, before making the repair. Now, thanks to an innovation by Maj. Roe Avrahami, commander of the Maintenance Unit at IDF Southern Command, that has changed.
“What we’ve developed is a system that analyzes and informs the technician where the error is in a short amount of time. We’re protecting lives by decreasing the risk. It now takes 75 percent less time to repair,” Avrahami told The Jerusalem Post
In a hostile environment, that amount of time can certainly save lives.
The new equipment comes in a suitcase which can be moved around easily by the repairman, Avrahami said.
The technician arrives, links the system to the weapons station, and within minutes, he will know where the problem lies.
Locating the error is a major part of the repair process, Avrahami stressed.
“Now, we’ll know where and what the error is. In the past, we had to rely on the experience and professionalism of the technician.”
The simplicity of the solution is the best part, he says.
“In seconds, the technician will know what has to be fixed, what component has to be replaced. The weapons stations doesn’t have to be taken back to the home front,” he added.
As remote controlled weapons are set to play a growing role in future combat, the IDF will continue innovating hi-tech solutions to maintain them, Avrahami said.