This CROW says “BAM BAM BAM”

First Rhinos, now CROWs. New breeds of animals keep popping up in Iraq. The Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) is mounted on top of a HMMWV and controlled from a command center within the vehicle. This system can mount the M2 50-cal machine gun, the M240 medium machine gun, the MK19 automatic grenade launcher, and the M249 squad automatic weapon in addition to a powerful color day camera, an infrared camera, and a range finder. This system allows the gunner to sit within the armored vehicle and, using a computer screen, control the weapon with the use of a joystick. Prior experience with Xbox desired but not required.
crows-xm101.jpgThe PM for Soldier Weapons demonstrated a prototype in February 2004, with four systems being deployed to Iraq under an urgent needs request. Troops in Iraq began receiving the final system in April 2005. Several hundred more are expected to be fielded within the next 18 months.

The CROWS system is an excellent tool, said Sgt. 1st Class Craig Bailey, Company C, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment. The advantages are obviously its optics, zoom and thermal capabilities. Its able to see things a lot farther in advance. Its excellent to have a thermal system mounted right on the vehicle to use at night or in daytime.
The CROWs is great for the MSR patrols because with the FLIR it sees things that are out of place, Hargis said. Even spotting IEDs in the road prior to coming up to them, but I think the most rewarding thing I can do is catch some of these guys laying the IEDs.

My foxhole buddy Murdoc caught this story in April, when the system deployed. Additional photos can be found at the PEO Soldier site.
Armchair Generalist

  • james williams

    As a former Vietnam era vet., and now a Early fifties Uncle who has a young Nephew in Iraq,
    I think this is the kind of high tech weaponry we need to find IED’s, and the Chuck’s that are laying the IED’s
    It’s hard to shoot back at an IED, when you cant see a enemy that is using hit and run tactics
    god bless the USA!

  • Jim Camarillo

    Great looking weapon! Question, how hard is it to clean and how do you keep the dust and dirt out of the “big” muzzle??
    Matter of fact, lots of sand in Iraq…how do you rocks, sand, and dirt, out of these muzzles…condoms???

    • TOMM6

      yes … you can put condoms on it. BUT, good gosh man!!! US has been fighting in hostile terrain for how many decades??? Just another war.

  • Adam Andrade

    hope i get one when i hit Afghanistan.

  • johnson

    another factor is how sand interrups the laser range finders

  • Shep

    I used to be a CROWS operator in Iraq during OIF 4. I was a combat engineer our job was to look for IED’s and clear the roads for the rest of the military. It was easy to find and eliminate the enemy. The CROWS system was great it worked best at night with the thermal imaging, it was like playing Halo or some other FPS video game. You could see things other soldiers could not. You could zoom in and greatly increase the accuracy of the 50 cal., Mark 19 or other weapon. There are so many applications I thought it would work well in watch towers on bases or possibly on our boarders to stop drug lords. The only real draw back was that your field of view was greatly reduced and there should be a IR laser or some other marking device for assisting in helicopter support and for helping your battle buddies acquire the target.