What is a Remote Weapons Station?
A Remote Weapons Station (RWS) is a remotely operated weapons platform that utilizes light and medium caliber artillery shells. Typically, an RWS contains sensing components (angular rates, accelerations, etc.), motor drives, a turret, and a computer. Today, companies like Electro Optic Systems Pty Ltd are patenting next generation Electro Optic RWS that are gyro-stabilized, combat ready, and built for precision targeting(1).
Since the two most important characteristics for an RWS are aiming speed and accuracy, advanced methods of stabilization are required to ensure that targets are correctly dealt with. The most important component in this task is the gyroscope.
Gyroscopes for Stabilization
The gyroscope is used to account for the pan and tilt model used by RWS. Spherical data (theta, phi, and the range - rho) is key to be able to stabilize this system because of the nature of the application. Angle theta is used to stabilize the tilt motor, angle phi is used to direct the pan motor and rho (distance) is typically calculated using a laser range finder(2).
The task for improving the stability of weapons stations is a job that will always be adapting. Creative uses of both sensors and structures are slowly increasing accuracy over distance. The United States Army filed for an anti-vibration mount for RWS and turrets in July of 2019 in hopes to provide a more stable platform for gyroscopes to better read and account for the pan and tilt model(3). Since vibrations can severely saturate weapon modeling algorithms it will take both the right platform, and the correct type of ruggedized sensor to push development. But what is the right sensor?...