You’re guarding a high-level VIP, and suddenly an attack drone appears above.
The VIP, his aides and the crowd scatters, as you lift your weapon and take aim.
Staying calm and cool, you take a deep breath, lock the SMASH 2000 laser onto the drone and pull the trigger.
Nothing happens, but that’s OK. Instantly, programmed algorithms track the target, seeking the optimal firing option.
You gently move the rifle around, until … the gun fires, on its own, when it is ready.
Sounds futuristic, but Smart Shooter’s SMASH 2000 automated targeting system has been around for at least 7-8 years.
Already selected by the US Army, the Israeli firm is now hoping to get its weapon system into the hands of US Marines, Breaking Defense reported.
The SMASH 2000, which boasts the ability to give a “one shot, one kill” capability to small arms, is currently being tested by the Marine Corps Rapid Capabilities Office (MCRCO) for its potential use against small unmanned systems.
According to company representatives, at least some of the testing will occur aboard ships to see how effective it can be at helping Marines shoot down moving targets.
“The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWL) evaluates candidate technologies to fill capability gaps; one of which is small, hostile drones against our front-line Marines in the close-in fight,” Marine spokesman William Hughes told Breaking Defense.
“As a 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 optimal point to eliminate small hostile drones.”
The great news is, SMASH can be integrated onto any of the small arms currently used by the US military and others as well, turning them into 21st century smart weapons.
The system, at its most basic, uses algorithms to track the target, and does not allow a shot to be fired until there is an optimal firing option laid out. The company claims novice shooters have an 80% chance of hitting their target with one shot.
The threat of small UAS is a growing one for militaries around the world, with the Pentagon pursuing a number of different options for how to take down such systems, which can be used as both intel-gathering devices or suicide weapons.
The power of the latter was on display over the last year, where small, commercially-available drones equipped with explosives were featured heavily in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
“What we promise here is that almost every bullet will be on target, by controlling the exact moment when the bullet is released so if you’re not on target, you won’t be able to fire,” Abraham Mazor the company’s business development VP, said.
According to Mazor, the system ensures that each round finds its target, in both day and night conditions, as well as keeping friendly forces safe.
According to Mazor, the system has been in use by the IDF for several months along the Gaza border, taking out drones and incendiary balloons launched from the blockaded coastal enclave.
“There is a lot of interest around this product because of the drone threat and the balloons from Gaza,” he said.
“We have tested the system and others have. They are very happy with it – and results are very successful so far.”
Smart Shooter had also been tested by US Special Operations Command, but was not adopted into its arsenal. However, in June 2020 the Army announced it was integrating the SMASH into its counter-UAS capability set.
It is also drawing interest from other nations, including India, The Netherlands and Australia.
Last year, the Dutch Army completed a live-fire counter-drone trial with the system. The company claims that that demonstration as successful, with soldiers, using the system for the first time, table to take down drones out to 150 meters away.
SMASH’s system incorporates night vision, magnification, and target detection and tracking.
According to Military.com, the system uses a sight that clips above the barrel and a special pistol grip. Pressing a button next to the grip automatically detects possible targets, projecting red boxes around them in the sight’s field of view.
As the information is fed back into the computer, the shooter keeps the crosshairs on the target and pulls the trigger, but the weapon will not fire unless the sights are lined up properly, causing a “guaranteed hit.”
At any time, the shooter can fire the weapon without using the SMASH target lock feature if quicker shots are needed on close-quarter targets.
Is there a downside? Yes, says a confidential security source.
“It’s a bit of a shock when you first use it,” he told Asia Times in an e-mail.
“You do not know when it will actually fire.
“So once you are moving the barrel around, it could fire at any moment.”
A little creepy, a little spooky, but it works, say the Israelis.
Expect the Marines to carry them soon, as they make their big Indo-Pacific China pivot.
Sources: Breaking Defense, Military.com, European Security and Defense