As part of our European tour, we had the pleasure of visiting the factories of John Cockerill Defence in Liege, Belgium, a company that is very well known in the Africa and Middle East region, but also in South-East Asia and Latin America, for the quality of their turrets and their ability to adapt to the demands of different customers.
Large armies such as those of Indonesia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia have for many years chosen JCD’s customised solutions to increase the effectiveness of their armoured vehicles by adding firepower, protection for crews and precision.
In this context, we were able to see two products presented by JCD, the CPWS and the Cockerill 1030 turrets, which are the latest medium turrets from John Cockerill Defence to be put on the market.
The CPWS (Cockerill Protected Weapon System), is a turret that puts priority on lightness, with a mass of about 1.2 t and which also offers several levels of protection. Protection for the crew, who can be sheltered inside the turret in the event of an operation, or the reloading of the gun, which is done from the inside.
The turret’s armor is Level 2 and it has a single optic, which can be either panoramic, for an armor commander for example, or linked to the gun for a shooter. The associated firepower is that of a 25 mm gun (25x137mm), a very common caliber.
The technological innovation concerns the modularity of the roof which offers several configurations according to the use. The first configuration is with a slight opening that allows a 360° observation around the turret. Or a complete opening which allows either to have a positioning of the personnel around or outside the personnel for a 360° observation or for maintenance.
The gun travel is adapted to urban combat or anti-drone, with an elevation ranging from -10° to +60°. From the point of view of the fire management system coupled with the camera, the latter has auto-tracking, which allows the operator to track and engage targets automatically.
In addition to the main gun, the CPWS also offers the possibility of adding a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and/or other weapons or equipment thanks to the modular architecture, such as smoke grenade launchers, laser detection systems, guided or unguided rockets and anti-tank missile launchers.
The main gun is a 25 mm Chaingun, which is widely used and well known for its reliability. It has a dual-feed system, which allows the choice of ammunition depending on the target engaged.
The CPWS can be associated with many types of military vehicles, ranging from 4×4 to 6×6. The missions associated with this type of vehicle are infantry support or reconnaissance, depending on the optics chosen for greater identification at greater distances.
The second product presented was the Cockerill 1030 turret, which is an evolution of the 3030, a best-selling turret in the Middle East. In the case of the 1030 we are talking about a turret that is more compact and lighter. It uses a 30x173mm cannon and weighs 1.5t in minimum single person configuration, it is also available with two optics and a two man configuration. It has an evolving armor which is at level 2 standard but can go up to level 4. The 30x173mm cannon allows a great firepower and a capacity of 200 ammunitions.
The turret has two armaments, in addition to the 30x173mm Chaingun gun, it can be equipped with a 40mm “Super forty” kit that can be easily installed.
The Cockerill 1030
The basic configuration of this turret is a two optics and two men, tank commander and gunner. It is also possible to reduce the price by integrating a lighter configuration with a one-man optic. The modularity of the 1030 also allows the addition of ATGMs or rocket baskets.
There are also different armor configurations ranging from a basic level 2 to a level 3 or 4. In addition, the turret can be robotized, with wireless control, secure communication and a layout that is optimized for access from the outside. And finally, it can be adapted for amphibious use for customers requiring armored landing or crossing.
The 1030 can be mounted on 6×6, 8×8 and even tracked platforms for both manned and autonomous vehicles.
Localization and technology transfer
Regarding its partnership and technology transfer projects in the MENA region, John Cockerill Defense representatives told us that this is part of the company’s strategy, which includes the desire of armies to acquire skills in advanced maintenance and manufacturing.
The first technology transfers by JCD date back to the 1980s with the 90mm gun contract in Brazil, followed by a 20-year partnership with Indonesia and projects about to be completed in the Middle East region.
The strategy is simple: adapt to the customer’s production capacity and then increase its capacity.
“A member of the two-hundred-year-old John Cockerill Group, John Cockerill Defense is the technology leader in 25-120 mm caliber, multi-functional, high-power weapon systems for light and medium armored vehicles. It is one of the world’s top 100 defense companies. John Cockerill Defense develops and integrates innovative solutions: design, production, integration and upgrading of weapon systems, operational and tactical training, Agueris® simulation systems (immersive virtual, mobile, embedded and interconnectable), in-service support and innovative features. Marketed under the Cockerill® brand, John Cockerill Defense weapon systems combine superior firepower and light weight for highly mobile armored vehicles, ensuring performance and protection.”