(WALLINGFORD, Conn., June 2, 2006) -- Ultra Electronics Measurement Systems Inc. (Ultra MSI) has signed a contract with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace worth $386,000 to provide advanced technology hand controls for the Protector, a Remote Weapon Station (RWS) used on the U.S. Army's Stryker armored vehicle. This follows a previous order Kongsberg awarded Ultra MSI in 2005 for $1.23 million, bringing the total value to date for this program to $1.616 million.
Ultra MSI is a world leader in the design and manufacture of electronic hardware and human machine interface solutions for military and commercial applications, and will supply Kongsberg with its patented Hall-effect transducer technology in a two axis, fingertip operated control. This technology has revolutionized the HMI (Human Machine Interface) industry by providing high performance and high reliability at low cost.
Protector RWS is Kongsberg's remotely controlled weapon station for light and medium caliber weapons. It is currently deployed in Iraq and is the leading weapon station for providing a gunner with total protection inside the vehicle under all conditions. The gunner receives observation and target information from a screen inside the vehicle, and will operate the Protector's gun using Ultra MSI's hand control.
The Evolution of Technology
Ultra MSI has a historic tradition of supplying advanced hand controls to the U.S. military. It has provided more than 3000 potentiometer-type units for use on the U.S. Marine Corps amphibious light armored vehicle (the LAV series), the predecessor to today's Stryker. The Army was looking to save space and weight in its Stryker, as well as making the operation of its remote weapon station control even easier for the gunner. The Stryker is the combat vehicle of choice for the Army's Interim Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs) and is a highly deployable, wheeled armored vehicle that combines firepower, battlefield mobility, survivability and versatility with reduced logistics requirements. Ultra MSI's latest hand control offers the Army a number of tactical advantages on the Stryker. The control mechanism itself is lightweight and offers a reduced component envelope, valuable advantages for interior space saving and joystick manipulation. The result is a much simpler, more ergonomic hand control with a more uniform and consistent feel for the gunner on all joystick directional maneuvering.
The Ultra MSI series of Hall-effect hand controls offers the advantages of magnetic sensor technology, first patented and introduced by Ultra MSI in 1998. A Hall-effect sensor is a transducer that varies its output voltage in response to changes in magnetic field density. Because it is electrically non-contacting, with all circuitry and components securely encapsulated, a Hall-effect device typically is immune to water, dirt, dust, lubricants, shock and vibration. The non-contacting design doesn't degrade, and provides a more accurate signal to the gunner.
The quality and performance of Ultra MSI's hand control is expected to offer the Army 20 times the reliability of previous potentiometer control units. These characteristics make Hall-effect devices better for position sensing than alternative means such as optical and electromechanical sensing.
Remote Weapon Station (RWS)
The Remote Weapon Station is a relatively new weapon concept for armored vehicles, and Ultra MSI began supplying force style hand control systems for the Stryker's RWS back in 2002. Over and above the latest $1.616 million in contracts, additional orders are expected from RWS manufacturer, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. Ultra MSI expects to deliver more than 1,200 hand control units for use in the Protector on the Stryker's Land Vehicle Weapons Turret Control over the life of the program. With various other options, the total value of the program could reach more than $4 million. Kongsberg is a Norway-based international technology company that is a premier supplier of advanced technology defense systems to nations around the world.