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April 21, 2009

Flyin' Robotic Cyber-Sniper

I've been dreaming of this since the liberation of Afghanistan. But I'm still thinking it's impossible.

The new air-sniper is actually a full helicopter... or at least a small kit helicopter, which means, I think, it's capable of carrying a pilot and little else. The mini-copter is remotely piloted and completely unmanned, so that it can loiter as its XBOX-controlled gun takes a bead without fear of putting any crew in danger.

It's called the ARSS, Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System.

The Army boffins already had a Vigilante robocopter on hand as a result of their Armed VTOL UAV Testbed Integration (AVUTI) effort. This produced a Vigilante (essentially an automated Ultrasport 496 kit chopper) remotely controlled from a station which can be set up on the ground or strapped into a manned transport helicopter for better radio line-of-sight. US Apache attack ships can now be fitted (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/30/apache_uas_datalink_flight_test/) to control unmanned aircraft, too.

...

For this test, the little Vigilante has been fitted with a lightweight stabilised remote turret, the Precision Weapon Platform (http://www.sdl.usu.edu/programs/arss), which is to be controlled by a soldier on the ground near the target - separate from the ground or airborne station handling the copter - who will use an Xbox controller to aim and fire.

In the PWP turret is a simple semi-automatic rifle firing .338 Lapua Magnum slugs - the sniper's sniper bullet. The turret and its software handle all the bullet-drop calculations, vibration compensation and so on: first-shot kills are expected at several hundred metres, and the human operator won't need any advanced marksmanship skills.

Thanks to ArthurK.


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posted by Ace at 02:51 PM

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