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NSWC Crane Takes Counter-Sniper System from Concept to Production

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070326-08
Release Date: 3/26/2007 5:06:00 PM

From NSWC Crane Public Affairs

CRANE, Ind. (NNS) -- The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division turned an Air Force requirement for a Counter Sniper System (CSS) into an operational prototype and delivered it to the warfighter in 82 days.

The CSS mounts to the top of the high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) and is designed to provide protection for the gunner from fire while the gunner protects the crew onboard.

“We needed something to protect our airmen from an emerging threat. Industry didn’t have what we needed, so the Air Force's Force Protection Battlelab turned to NSWC Crane for the solution," said Col. Gerard Jolivette, U.S. Central Command Air Forces’ director of force protection.

"Crane’s reputation for rapid prototyping and expedited product delivery, not to mention training and quality life-cycle support, played into the decision to take the work to the Indiana base.”

NSWC Crane built the dome-shaped prototype from ballistic steel and glass, while ensuring it would be versatile enough to fit any turret and durable enough to support heavy weapons. The system’s modular design is user friendly. The dome has three configurations, and can be easily reconfigured with common hand tools and minimum manpower.

Don Lowe, an NSWC Crane employee serving as an on-site technical director with the Force Protection Battlelab, sketched the concept of the CSS after the death of an Airman on Oct. 14, who was performing his duties as a gunner while assigned to the U.S. military police training effort in Iraq.

“Our warfighters need to be as safe as possible on the battlefield. They need to feel reassured that they are protected from the insurgents as well as the harsh environment. This system is allowing that to become more of a reality,” said Lowe.

The CSS prototype was actually tested in Iraq by Detachment 7 security forces at Balad Air Base.

“What better way to test a product than in the hands of the user whose life may depend on it,” said Jolivette.

On March 9, NSWC Crane was tasked to build additional CSSs for the Air Force. Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA), which brings welding and machining to the table, and previously helped armor plate hundreds of HMMWVs, is teaming with NSWC Crane to build and deliver the CSSs by April 15.

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