In an era filled with smart cars, smart phones and smart TVs, it doesn’t sound too far-fetched that the Army would like to develop some smart weapons for what we’d like to believe have always been some pretty smart soldiers.
Last month at the annual SHOT Show, Israeli-based Smart Shooter Ltd. unveiled their SMASH Fire Control System. The company is working with Sig Sauer on the Army’s advanced fire control system project, which will be used with their new Next-Generation Squad Weapon.
This new weapons system, which includes semi and fully automatic variants, will replace the M4A1 rifle and M249 machine gun, commonly referred to as the SAW. Designed with shooter accuracy in mind, the SMASH system can engage both stationary and moving targets during the day or at night via a weapon-mounted optic site, specialized pistol grip, and a button on the handguard.
The shooter looks through the optic, placing the crosshairs on the target and then pressing the button to “mark” the target. This information is fed back through the system’s computer as the shooter keeps the crosshairs on the target and squeezes the trigger. Pressing and releasing the button essentially locks the weapon onto the target, while the crosshairs reinforce the aiming point.
This technology removes a number of variables that can affect the accuracy of the shot, such as sighting in the weapon for each user, breathing patterns that can raise or lower the round’s trajectory, weapon recoil, and even unplanned body movements. This stems from the fact that the weapon only fires if the crosshairs are properly aligned.
Additionally, if the target moves suddenly and the shooter keeps the crosshairs trained on it, the system will fire automatically once the shot lines up. This makes moving targets easier to hit without wasting rounds or revealing the direction of fire.
The system is only activated by pushing that button on the handguards, so rapid shots can still be fired without SMASH when necessary. Depending on how both the SMASH system and the new weapons test out, infantry soldiers could see both by early 2023.