Remote weapon turrets, man do they suck to run into on the virtual battlefield. Whether trying to dominate a hijacked cruise ship in Call Of Duty multiplayer or doing your damnedest to beat Contra without the cheat code, they can be the great equalizer that shatters your quest for a perfect game. On real battlefields, remote weapon turrets, also referred to as remote weapon stations, have quickly become commonplace.
Although they are usually mounted on vehicles to provide its occupants cover while surveilling and engaging enemies in their surroundings, other concepts have seen them pop-out of unassuming containers and even act as missile silo sentries. Now, via leveraging big advances in computerized weapon sights, they are becoming far more mobile and adaptable to pretty much any situation. Case in point: Smart Shooter's Light Remote-Controlled Weapon Station (LRCWS).
Israel's Smart Shooter has blazed a trail for what we now call computerized rifle sights that literally provide "one-shot, one-hit" accuracy even for relatively untrained users. The firm's SMASH 2000 system, which is capable of engaging static and moving targets, including drones in the air, has matured to the point that U.S. special operators are now packing them in Syria. You can read all about the historic deployment of this technology in this recent piece of ours.
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Now the company is combining its gunsight technology with a light-weight remote-controlled weapon station that can be rapidly packed-up and relocated.
A press release from Smart Shooter about their new ultra-portable smart weapon mount system reads:
Measuring approximately 15 Kg, SMASH HOPPER can be integrated into an existing Command-and-Control system(C2), providing operators with the ability to hand-off or receive targets across existing communications networks. Featuring a safe trigger mechanism, a mounting solution, and a ruggedized Remote-Control Unit (RCU), SMASH HOPPER provides a pan–and–tilt capability for the weapon system and can be controlled via cable or wireless connectivity.
Offering day and night capability with automatic scanning and target detection, SMASH HOPPER is ideal for multiple mission areas including force protection, border security, anti-drone, remote ambush, and offensive action operations at complex environments. It can be mounted utilizing a standalone deployable tripod, a stationary fixed mast or a lightweight vehicle.
What's key here is the brains and optics for the system are evolved from the SMASH smart sight. As a result, the remote turret not only displaces the user away from the weapon itself, and does so in a highly mobile package, but it also incorporates the company's extremely accurate targeting capabilities. It has a low-light mode so it can be used at night as well as day and with its auto-tracking capabilities combined with the freely traversable SMASH HOPPER base, it can auto-scan an area and perfectly track targets of interest.
Because it leverages the company's existing compact computerized sighting technology, there is no need for big, heavy optics and computer systems, which allow for a massive reduction in bulk. This all culminates in a capability that has only been accessible in the form of far larger and more complex remote weapon stations in the past, and in the case of the company's super-precise computer-aided gunsight technology, not on any other remote weapon station.
SMASH HOPPER can accommodate 5.56 NATO and 7.62 NATO individual weapons like M16/M4 and AR-10/SR-25 pattern rifles. While more limited in magazine depth and volume of fire than say a light machine gun, using an assault or battle rifle as a weapon is offset in low weight, commonality, and especially accuracy when combined with the company's one-shot, one-hit capability.
Apparently, a SMASH HOPPER Light is also in the works that will provide some similar capabilities, but in an even more compact and lightweight that is fully man-portable by a single individual.
The potential applications for either system are remarkable. These could be set up as sentries around the perimeter of a base, with multiple units being operators from a central control facility. They could surveil and defend critical chokepoints or the perimeters of forward operating bases or temporary camps. They could even be used to protect critical locales and VIPs during temporary periods of vulnerability. Being able to lower the barrier for mounting a remote weapon station on light vehicles and small boats is also highly intriguing.
So there you have it, the mobile weapon turret you grew up on using or trying to take out during your video game heroics are now a reality.