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Army Looking at "Hot Rails" for Personal Weapons

"Army developing hot rails for rifles like this Special Forces M4A1

One of the major issues modern forces face in the field -- aside from weight -- is how to maintain proper levels of electricity to power their various electronic gadgets and doo dads.

U.S. weapons are increasingly incorporating new sights, pointers and beams to their weapons and those things suck power with a vengeance. How much would it blow if you're a sniper and Ole Osama passes through your crosshairs one night and all the sudden...<blink> goes your night illumination scope.

There goes your $25 million reward...

But the head of Army weapons programs hinted yesterday that his office at Picatinny is working on a project to incorporate a "hot rail" system onto its rifles. PEO Soldier Weapons Col. Doug Tamilio told us:

"It hooks into the 1913 rail system. And what that allows you to do is put a system on [the weapon] and do away with the battery pack. And what you can do is on the buttstock of the weapon or the hand grip you can put batteries in there. So everything you put on this system is already hot wired and can run off that. And you get a lot more battery life out of that too."

Another plus is that the weapon's weight and center of gravity shifts to a more shooter-friendly spot: in the grip and stock, instead of along the rail or forward. This could translate into increased accuracy and less fatigue.

Tamilio said that Congress injected some funds to look into this last FY and he's got some money to continue it in this FY. His office has a prototype ready for testing and if all goes well, this "hot rail" system could be added to the Improved Carbine requirement as it evolves.

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