Monday, December 28, 2015

ZSSW-30 Remote Turret Part II

Remote Turret

Part II

Remote Turret

More than a year ago, Warfare Technology had an article on the new Polish ZSSW-30 Remote Turret by the Polish Company, Huta Stalowa Wola or HSW.

A new prototype of the turret was revealed during MSPO 2015 Exhibition. It seems the testing on the turret has already started.

Copyright: J. Sabacc /

ZSSW-30 is an unmanned / remote turret with the same ring diameter as the Oto Melara Hitfist-30 turret that is already in service in Polish Army on Rosomak 8x8s. The turret has an elevation range of -9° to +60°.

The second prototype of the new Polish ZSSW-30 Turret Unveiled at MSPO Exhibition
(Remigiusz Wilk)
The turret is armed with a 30mm  Mk44 chaingun and a coaxial UKM-2000C 7.62mm machine gun. 

The turret has 200 rounds of 30mm ready-to-fire onboard and 400 7.62mm rounds.

I was unable to see where the links for the 30mm gun are ejected from the photos available. This lead me to thinking that the links are collected inside, however I might be wrong as well. 

On the right hand side of the turret, two Spike LR missiles are mounted.Spike LR is a fire and forget type missile with a imaging infrared seeker. The range is 4.000m with a penetration capability of more than 700mm RHA.

Dual Spike LR Launchers

The gunner's sight is Polish PCO GOC-1 Nike dual axis stabilized sight system.

Gunner's Sight: PCO GOC-1 Nike

Gunner's Sight: PCO GOC-1 Nike

GOC-1 Sight unit consists of a Mid Wave Thermal Imager, Day CCD Camera and a 10km range Laser Range Finder. The sight unit has -20° to +70° elevation and nx360° traverse capability.

The Commander's Sight is PCO God-1 Iris Sight system with a Long Wave thermal imager (D/R/I -4.95/1.6/0.8km), day camera and laser range finder (10km). Thank you, Totem!

PCO GOD-1 Iris Independent Commander's Sight
I was unable to reach any weight data for this turret. Considering the unmanned configuration and the armament, my assumption would be around 2.5tons combat weight. 

Of which, I was pretty close with my weight estimation... Turret weighs 2.400kg with Level II armor package (STANAG 4569) - Thank you Shas.

When I look at the frontal section of the turret, there is no add-on armor in front of the rotor section. This leads me to thinking that the frontal protection level should be around Level II (STANAG 4569).

Frontal Aspect of the Turret

As far as I can see The Polish Army is seeking a local alternative to the Oto Melara Hitfist 30P Two-Man Turrets that they have in inventory on Rosomak 8x8s.

HitFist 30P Two Man Turret

However, it is not so clear to me why they are opting for an unmanned solution instead of the Two-Man HitFist Turrets. Ive been reading they had good experience with the Hitfist turrets from Polish Army's Operations in Afghanistan. But that's for the Polish Army to decide..

Thanks to Thotem, we have a good and detailed explanation:

Rosomak is required to be amphibious. Poland is criscrossed with several rivers, and being able to manouvre in response to hostile action was always considered pivotal. Meanwhile, polish army always considered its fording/rivercrossing/engineering support inadequate/underfunded. Thus, when Rosomak was comissioned, the specific requirement was for the vehicle to be able to swim. This was achieved, at the expense of ballistic protection. Even for Afghanistan, the vehicles were uparmoured (which is aided by the fact that the vehicle has fully modular armour protection).

However, while at the comissioning OTO Melara was swearing they WILL be able to integrate Spike ATGMs without affecting the core parameters of the Hitfist-30P, this was later proven impossible. While integration was eventually successfully completed, there are two "sticking points": first, the integration effectively requires a new thermal camera. Second, the upgraded turret has significantly increased weight - that is, beyond the limit required for amphibious operations.

This means Polish Army has to spend not only on upgrading the turret, but also on the vehicle hull for it to remain amphibious, or replace the turret. Considering that ZSSW-30 uses the same Mk.44 ATK cannon, that component can be reused. Sights need to be replaced either way - and that makes replacing the entire turret a palatable option, as it also creates extra space inside the vehicle.

That last argument seems to be fairly important, too - Afghanistan ops changed the individual soldier's outfit and gear, and what was initially considered enough space for 8 troopers, NOW seems awfully tight, so the new turret also addresses a previously-unforseen issue that the line commanders face, while also increasing firepower.

There is also a chassis-specific quirk. Hitfist-30P targeting block is to the right of the barrel... right behind the engine cooling and exhaust on the Rosomak/AMV chassis. Hot air from there doesn't really help using either the optics or IR. ZSSW-30 moves the entire block to the opposite side of the vehicle.

5 ZSSW-30 turrets are planned to undergo qualification testing in 2016 and the possible series production to commence in 2017.