Marines test new scope that “locks” on target

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Marine Corps and Navy officials will test an advanced fire control system that calculates how troops can best reach their targets as part of ongoing efforts to defend against enemy drones on land and at sea, a announced the Israeli company that builds the system.

Smart Shooter Ltd. is the maker of the SMASH fire control system, which can be added to any type of military rifle, the company said in a press release.

“The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWL) is evaluating candidate technologies to fill capability gaps; one of them is small drones hostile against our frontline Marines in close combat, said Jessica Hanley, spokesperson for Combat Development and Integration. “As part of its market research work, the Marine Corps Rapid Capabilities Office (MCRCO) is evaluating the SMASH 2000L as a candidate solution identified for its current ability to target, track and fire at the optimum point to eliminate hostile small drones. . “

The crane division of the US Naval Surface Warfare Center will also test whether SMASH technology can be used to shoot down drones, the Smart Shooter press release says.

“With built-in targeting algorithms capable of tracking and hitting even very small drones, SMASH fire control systems put precision anti-drone capability within reach of its users,” the press release said.

An unidentified tester opens fire while using the SMASH 2000 optics from Smart Shooter.
(Courtesy photo by Fred Warmer via Smart Shooter)

The Marines will receive several SMASH 2000 systems this fall for testing. The United States Army and Special Operations Command have previously looked at how the system can be used against enemy drones.

SMASH systems include mounted optics and a pistol grip that allow troops to lock onto a target and fire only “when it comes to a guaranteed shot,” said Devin Schweiss of Smart’s US subsidiary. Shoot at the 2000 SHOT Show last year in Las Vegas.

“After you lock the target and activate the fire control function, it will automatically calculate the ballistic solution of the target, but the cartridge will not fire until you have a 100% solution. “Scott Thompson, vice president and general manager of US operations for Smart Shooter, said Tuesday.

Troops can unlock the target if circumstances require, Thompson said.

The viewfinder weighs about 2.6 pounds and the system has a rechargeable battery designed to last 72 hours, according to Smart Shooter. In sample tests, novice and experienced shooters were able to hit a moving target with their first turn 80% of the time from unsupported firing positions. Using the current red dot system, none of the novice shooters and only 20% of the experienced shooters achieved the same results.

Drones can be used by terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group and nations. Iran in particular has been accused of using drones to attack the Saudi state-controlled oil company and a merchant tanker operated by Israel.

In July 2019, the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer was in the Strait of Hormuz when two Iranian drones came dangerously close to the ship. Military.com first reported that the Marines aboard the Boxer had used a buggy drone jammer to bring down at least one of the drones.

The Marines are testing a new scope that
Soldiers use a Smart Shooter aiming device to fire at a target carried by a drone during a familiarization zone near At-Tanf Garrison, Syria, May 30, 2020 (U.S. Army photo by the Staff Sergeant William Howard)

“With an increased likelihood of success for small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) and increased range of engagement, Smart Shooter’s SMASH technology has demonstrated the potential to increase the Navy’s ability to engage individual-level sUAS. – using existing weapons and ammunition in the inventory, “the press release said.

Unmanned aircraft pose a threat to land forces as well as to ships. In 2017, ISIS fighters used commercially purchased drones to drop small explosives on Iraqi troops during the Battle for Mosul.

Hence the need for a weapons system that will allow ground troops to better defend themselves against drone attacks. In May 2020, US special operators from Al Tanf garrison in southern Syria were pictured using the SMASH 2000 system as they fired at a target suspended from a small quadcopter drone.

The following month, the military announced that it had chosen Smart Shooter as one of the companies that will provide the service with provisional drone defenses. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., head of the United States Central Command, described the rapid proliferation of inexpensive, commercially available drones as “the most worrying tactical development since the rise of improvised explosive devices in Iraq. “.

UPDATE: This story was updated on October 5th with comments from Jessica Hanley, spokesperson for Combat Development and Integration.

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