The military is developing a self-aiming rifle to bolster the capabilities of snipers fighting in diverse conditions.
The Defense Department has partnered with Lockheed Martin to develop 15 operational prototypes of a self-aiming rifle by October 2011, reported popsci.com.
The new electro-optical system in this high-tech weapon will calculate ballistics for a sniper, helping the shooter aim accurately and ensuring a perfect shot, no matter the weather conditions.
It also will measure atmospheric conditions, provide GPS coordinates and account for the weapon's maximum effective range. The rifle will also be able to communicate with its scope, which will inform the weapon about aim and expected crosswind, according to popsci.com.
The main reasons for developing such a gun include the wide-ranging variety of climates and conditions in which U.S. troops engage in combat. Snipers also need to spot their targets from greater distances than in past conflicts.
The original prototype started in 2007 as part of the DOD's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA's One-Shot program. The weapon could measure average crosswind, range to target, spotter-scope position, air temperature, pressure and humidity. It could do all of this while hurling bullets up to 3,600 feet with amazing accuracy, reported Military Aerospace.com.
But the gun was too bulky to be practical and it couldn't be used with standard rifle scopes.
Under the $6.9 million dollar project, labeled 2E, Lockheed Martin experts will develop a system to provide day and night direct observation of the target. The technology will measure everything that influences a bullet in flight, and rapidly calculate and display the aim point offset and expected crosswind variability in the shooters rifle scope, according to Military Aerospace.com.
In addition, the next design will be more compact with the capability of operating in real time and over longer distances.