Rafael’s Samson 30 – A Force Multiplier to Enhance GFVs Capabilities


samson-rafael-tankRafael’s Samson 30 remote controlled weapon station is adapted to more and more ground fighting vehicles (GFVs). In the future this force multiplier will enhance the capabilities of now under development autonomous fighting vehicles (AFVs). The Samson 30 in now competing in Spain and Bulgaria.

Modern warfare ‒ with its rapidly-changing conditions and increasingly sophisticated threats, including asymmetric attacks ‒ requires the most advanced technologies to ensure warfighters of both maximum lethality and high survivability. An array of advanced technologies and capabilities ‒ including artificial intelligence (AI), digitization, augmented reality (AR), and the ability to perform more missions in less time ‒ will provide significantly greater advantages.

Asymmetric warfare will continue to be focused on urban spaces, and will require the rapid identification of the enemy and the immediate closing of the sensor-to-shooter loop. Combat vehicles will need powerful defensive and offensive capabilities in order to simultaneously defend against the array of multiple threats of different types and sizes and at different ranges that will be faced by maneuvering forces ‒ including ATGMs, drones, and snipers ‒ often in GPS-denied areas.

In order to send fewer fighters into battle and reduce their exposure to the enemy, improved situational awareness will be required for the crew inside the combat vehicles. They will also need the help of autonomous or semi-autonomous systems in performing their missions.

Maximum survivability of tomorrow’s platforms will be achieved by a combination of essential factors: minimal crew; kinetic threat protection; active protection against hollow-charge threats; complementary protection measures at specific weak points; multiple means of surveillance; and an array of weapon types for precision target acquisition and offensive fire.

Future platforms will need to share a common data network through which intelligence, command, own and enemy force data, target designation and allocation will be accessible by all network members in real time, enabling the rapid speed of command including instantaneous shifting and adapting to changing facts on the ground, as well as the enhanced use of fire power and mutual protection ‒ together creating a true force multiplier.

Most of today’s forces are equipped with modern, advanced combat systems that provide both attack and intelligence gathering capabilities. However, these systems operate independently of each other, which prevent the utilization of their full potential. The innovation that will bring the game-changing technological advantage to the battlefield will be the capability to turn these separate systems into a single, fully integrated system, with all components operating simultaneously ‒ ensuring continuous battlefield superiority and combat overmatch.

All these technical enablers are currently available from Rafael as an ultra-smart, fully-integrated, platform-tailored system ‒ the SAMSON Integrated 30mm Remote-Controlled Weapon Station. This is the newest member of Rafael’s standard-setting RWS family, backed by 40 years of successful global experience, and in use by over 11 NATO countries.

The basic system is a third (3rd) generation, medium caliber system suite ‒ in serial production ‒ which benefits from all the latest improvements and maturation of Rafael’s combat-tested and battle-proven SAMSON systems. Designed to mount a 30/40 mm gun and a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun, it can be integrated into any modern, light-armored, high-mobility fighting vehicle ‒ new, existing, or upgraded ‒ including 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). The system provides observation and target engagement capabilities with enhanced firing accuracy, and is fully integrated with Rafael’s SPIKE missile dual launcher.

Based on our extensive experience, and responding to demands from the field ‒ including the need for combat vehicles to move as quickly and securely as main battle tanks (MBTs) in today’s complex and saturated battlefields ‒ we developed the fully customizable SAMSON Integrated 30mm RWS. This next-gen system provides an optional mix of the most advanced, innovative and effective solutions available ‒ all developed by Rafael.

In recent months, Rafael’s Samson 30 participated in a series of firing tests in Spain of the General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) wheeled tank combat vehicle (TCV) 8×8 “Piranah 5”, as part of the country’s 8*8 vehicle program, which included firing of Rafael’s SPIKE LR missiles from the weapon station. The test was completed successfully and met the expectations of all sides.

With the SAMSON Integrated 30mm RWS, there is no need to make any changes to the vehicle itself. All components can be integrated on a single platform, Plug & Play style, and work together seamlessly ‒ delivering all the capabilities required for superiority in the modern battlespace, and rapidly propelling forces years ahead of their current position. Fully scalable, the system enables next-gen solutions to be easily added as they become available, thus maintaining a continuous strategic and tactical advantage.

Delivering an MBT level of protection with no hull penetration, as well as substantial fire power, this next-level RWS provides a comprehensive lethality/ survivability suite without negatively affecting maneuverability. Lighter in weight with a lower silhouette and no obstacles in the interior space, the system is adaptable to a wide range of platforms, whether new or existing legacy vehicles. Net-centric, and interfacing with other platforms via the BMS, the system enables a group of vehicles to share enemy target data and other critical information among all group members. Robust, reliable, and proven in the most adverse environmental conditions, it enables the simultaneous use of main and secondary weapons, provides full day, night, and all-weather hunt-kill capabilities, and allows rapid switching of weapon types via the weapon selector on the control panel.

The system’s main features include rapid location of the fire source and effective return fire; faster, more accurate slew-to-cue; life-saving under-armor ammunition loading and head-out option via inherent hatch for situation awareness; integration with C4I systems; and a unified user interface serving all subsystems.

Rafael also offers the Samson equipped with its Spike LR2 missile. The SPIKE LR2 is a fifth (5th) generation precision, long-range, electro-optical guided, multi-purpose, multi-platform missile system. It is part of the SPIKE missile family that is in use by more than 30 armed forces and integrated with 40+ platforms. Combining the SPIKE LR2 missile system with the SAMSON Integrated 30mm RWS and its combat management systems transform the RWS and the vehicle into a versatile fighting machine ‒ able to simultaneously neutralize targets at multiple ranges, with a level of precision suitable for the pinpoint accuracy required in the urban space.

-The writer is an Israel-based freelance journalist