Ukraine is ordering new weapons more and more actively, not relying only on the allies’ help. In particular, the Australian company Electro Optic Systems announced that it had signed a preliminary contract with Ukraine’s SpetsTechnoExport for the manufacture and supply of 100 combat modules worth 80 million US dollars.
This order should be completed during 2023-2024, if in the coming weeks the Australian company conducts successful demonstration tests and completes other procedures that are customary for the execution of defense contracts.
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The exact name of the combat module is not specified, but it is only stated that it is heavy remote weapon systems. In the product catalog of Electro Optic Systems, there are a total of four combat modules and one turret, but only one of them is marked "heavy": the R800S.
The R800S is equipped at the customer's decision with either a 30mm Bushmaster Mk44S automatic cannon, a machine gun and a Javelin ATGM in one launcher (an alternative is two Spikes). Or the 30mm Bushmaster M230LF, the M2 .50cal heavy machine gun and the 7.62mm M134, and twice as many 4 Javelin each, Spike or TOW ATGM’s (also options with two Stingers or 2.75" Talon guided missiles by Raytheon).
Also, the customer can choose a version not only with a daytime and thermal imaging camera and a laser rangefinder, but also with a commander's panorama. The module is distinguished by a sophisticated digital fire control system with automatic target selection, auto-tracking, calculations of lead times and errors based on atmospheric conditions, including firing while moving. At the same time, the weight of the combat module without additional armor is only 800 kg.
The turret is named T2000, it is the product that is offered for equipping the Redback AS21 IFV: a version of the Korean K21, which is one of two candidates for a new vehicle for the Australian Armed Forces, competing with the KF-41 Lynx.
At the same time, the most popular combat module of Electro Optic Systems is R400S Mk2, which is often installed on armored vehicles, in particular on JLTV and Bushmaster. And this combat module is well known to the Ukrainian military, who use it with the Mk19 automatic grenade launcher and the 7.62-mm machine gun.
Although even the R400S Mk2 supports the installation of even the M134D Minigun and the ATGM. And for light armored vehicles, the R600 with 30-mm Bushmaster is also offered.
Note that given the notional cost of one combat module for Ukraine is 800,000 dollars, then most likely heavy versions are to be purchased, since theR400S Mk2 in 2017 during the sale to the American company Orbital ATK (now absorbed by Northrop Grumman) cost about 280 thousand dollars.
Thus, with a high degree of probability, the heavy combat module by Electro Optic Systems will be aimed for wheeled combat vehicles, and not for armored vehicles. One of the candidates is the Polish Rosomak, of which 100 units have just been ordered, but it is unlikely that Poland will be able to put its ZSSW-30 combat module on them, which is as similar as possible in terms of armament to the R800S. It is fair to consider as the second option American Stryker, which, judging by the video, came in the APC version, i.e. with machine gun armament.
But we should not forget that Ukraine produces wheeled combat vehicles, such as the BTR-4, adding a modern combat module to it will allow Ukraine to reach a new level of combat effectiveness.