Euronaval 2014: FN Herstal launches Sea deFNder, secures first order

Richard Scott

Belgian firearms group FN Herstal has secured a launch customer for its new Sea deFNder small calibre stabilised remote weapon station (RWS), the company has confirmed.
The latest in FN Herstal’s family of deFNder RWS, Sea deFNder has been conceived to meet both constabulary and force protection requirements on all types of naval and coastguard vessels. The system’s universal cradle is designed to accommodate a range of machine guns, from the 5.56 mm Minimi up to the M2HB-QCB or M3R 0.50 calibre heavy machine guns. The mounting can also be equipped with a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.

According to FN Herstal, Sea deFNder shares many features of the existing vehicle-mounted deFNder Medium. These include the on-mount sighting module containing a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera and thermal imager, either single-hand or gamepad-type control handles, and a 200-round ammunition box.
However, a number of modifications have been introduced to meet the specific needs of the maritime operating environment. Examples include surface treatment, improved water-tightening and drain-off, full environmental qualification to maritime standards, and a two-axis gyroscopic stabilisation system optimised for naval applications.
According to FN Herstal, a launch order for Sea DeFNder has been received to equip new patrol boats being built for an undisclosed navy. It is understood that deliveries have already commenced.

Requirements for shipborne RWS have risen substantially in recent years. Controlled from the bridge deckhouse or a below-decks operator console, and integrating target indication information from on-mount electro-optical sensors with integral ballistics computing, they afford operators the ability to reliably detect, track, identify and, if necessary, engage threats from a protected space.
FN Herstal is the latest entrant to an already crowded market. The competition includes Rafael (Mini-Typhoon), Oto Melara (HitRole), Aselsan (STAMP), and Kongsberg (Sea Protector).


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