4) BAE’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System or APKWS –
Till now, we had been harping about laser shots and rail guns. Well, BAE has also successfully showcased their Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, which basically entails a high-precision rocket system with a semi-active laser-guided mechanism. The entire setup features what is known as a point-and-shoot mode with no requirement of external maintenance. As for its design, the APKWS comprises of wing assemblies and folding fins. These individual wings are in turn mounted with laser seeker optics, while the advanced weapon system is equipped with MEMS inertial measurement unit, along with state-of-the-art digital signal processing components.
Another unique feature of the APKWS is its capacity to be controlled by distributed aperture semi-active laser seeker (or DASALS). This plug and play compatible device is tailored to be fitted on to the weapon system, and can morph unguided munitions into precision rockets! When all of these features are translated into practicality, the APKWS can used from both manned aircraft and unmanned platforms – for a range of scenarios that includes land-, sea- or air-based targets, with a touted accuracy of 93 percent. And finally, it should be noted that the weapon system has been successfully test fired (by US military) from a number of variant platforms, including Hawker Beechcraft AT-6C aircraft, MH-60S helicopter and A-10 Warthog jet.
5) TrackingPoint’s Precision-Guided Firearm series –
Back in CES 2013, the Precision-Guided Firearm series (dubbed as the Linux Gun) created by TrackingPoint, had many eyes rolled and brows raised, with its ‘powertrain’ of a laser rangefinder and on-board computer. When translated to a real-time scenario, the ‘smart’ sniper rifle was touted to have the capacity to gauge variables, like the wind condition and even the motional attribute of the target. In essence, the gun could communicate to the user where his bullet would ultimately land, as opposed to where it is aimed at. And, all of this ‘fine-tuning’ could be done for a more-than substantial range of 1,200 yards (0.68 mile or 1.1 km).
And now, the stakes are raised higher with the 2015 version of the Linux Gun (christened as Mile Maker) claimed to have an increased range of 1,800 yards (1.02 miles or 1.64 km), while it can hit a target moving at a speed of 30 mph. This increased range comes courtesy of more improved hardware components, along with a streamlined software that accounts for better preciseness in trajectory measurements (and estimations). Added to that, the newer version will also boast of a live feed feature – which entails the sniping action being captured by a connected mobile device. Considering all these attributes, according to Oren Schauble (a TrackingPoint marketing official), the Mile Maker can hit around 70 percent of its targets in an impeccably accurate manner from around 1,000 yards – when even fired by ‘inexperienced’ users. So, it really doesn’t come as a surprise that the US military has already acquired a few of such smart rifles for their own initiated testing phase.
6) MQ-8C Fire Scout UAV –
Our general notion about UAVs takes a back seat when it comes to Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout – one of US Navy’s advanced unmanned helicopters. A successor to its smaller brethren – the MQ-8B, which has already seen action in Afghanistan; the MQ-8C is based upon the robust air-frame of a Bell 407 helicopter. In addition, it is upgraded with a whole new Rolls-Royce 250-C47E engine system and fuel tanks that allow the craft to fly for 12 continuous hours, with a range of 170 miles (or 280 km) and substantial payload of 318 kg (701 lbs). And, now the design adds another feather in its cap by being the navy’s very first unmanned helicopter that has successfully made its take-off and landing actions from a marine-based destroyer (USS Jason Dunham), off the coast of Virginia.
Of course, the question one might be asking is – how does this pertain to a weapons system? Well, according to sources, the military is already looking forth to marine-based objectives that can be fulfilled by the Fire Scout, by virtue of its autonomous flight controls, sensor suite, advanced data-link scope, and progressive take-off/landing techniques. And, here’s the interesting part – the US navy is also thinking about the ‘precision targeting support‘ of the helicopter, which would seriously change the game for short-term missions and raids, thus transforming it into a passive weapon system.