LAS VEGAS -- An Israeli company, working with Sig Sauer, recently showed a version of its high-tech, smart-shooter technology that the U.S. Army is currently evaluating in its Next Generation Squad Weapon Fire Control competition.
Smart Shooter Ltd. demonstrated its SMASH Fire Control System at a Sig-hosted range day for SHOT Show 2020. The SMASH is designed to help improve the accuracy of any shooter engaging stationary or moving targets in both day and night conditions, said Devin Schweiss of Smart Shooter Inc.
The SMASH "allows you to acquire, lock on and engage targets" using a weapon-mounted optic and special pistol grip that "allows the weapon to fire only when it's a guaranteed hit," he said.
"We are currently competing in the Next Generation Squad Weapon Fire Control competition ... with a similar technology," Schweiss told Military.com. "We are still adapting it, but it's going to be a pretty good solution."
Last summer, Army weapons officials invited defense firms to design and build prototypes of an advanced fire control system to go with service's Next-Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW), a 6.8mm system that includes rifle and automatic rifle variants to replace the M4A1 and M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Smart Shooter has teamed with Sig, which was selected by the Army, along with teams from General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems Inc. and Textron Systems, for the final phase of the NGSW effort. If all goes well, the service plans to begin equipping infantry brigade combat teams with both NGSW variants and fire-control systems in the first quarter of 2023.
The SMASH features a lock button that's mounted on the weapon's handguard. The shooter looks through the SMASH optic, places the crosshairs on the target and presses the button to mark the target with a tiny rectangle.
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. If the target moves suddenly, the shooter continues to keep the crosshairs on the target. When the shot is lined up, the SMASH will fire the weapon, Schweiss said.
"While I am holding down this button, I am acquiring targets through image processing. ... Once I release it, it will lock the target and give me and aimpoint," he said. "Then I just hold down the trigger, align my crosshairs to where the system tells me to, and the system will fire whenever it's a 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, Schweiss said.
"It only takes about five minutes to learn and, once you learn the motion, then it's quick," he said.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.