The Army is adopting a 'guaranteed hit' smart fire control system to knock drones out of the sky

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The SMASH Fire Control System

The SMASH Fire Control System

The Army has selected Smart Shooter to furnish the service with its unique 'guaranteed hit' fire control system as an interim counter-unmanned aerial systems solution, the service announced.

Smart Shooter's SMASH family of fire control systems was one of three handheld solutions selected by the Army "to address urgent and emerging operational needs of deployed forces," the service said in a statement last week.

The Army also selected the 'Dronebuster' and Bal Chatri for use among dismounted infantry forces.

The SMASH family of electro-optical fire control solutions is "capable of leveraging targeting data from a wide range of EO, RF and radar sensors" and can be integrated onto any assault rifle, according to Smart Shooter.

Coalition Forces zero Smart Shooter sighting devices during a familiarization range near At-Tanf Garrison, Syria, May 30, 2020.

Coalition Forces zero Smart Shooter sighting devices during a familiarization range near At-Tanf Garrison, Syria, May 30, 2020.

Here's how the SMASH 2000 system works, as previously described to Military.com:

The SMASH features a lock button that's mounted on the weapon's handguard. The shooter looks through the SMASH optic, places the crosshairs on the target and presses the button to mark the target with a tiny rectangle.

As the information is fed back into the computer, the shooter keeps the crosshairs on the target and pulls the trigger, but the weapon will not fire unless the sights are lined up properly. If the target moves suddenly, the shooter continues to keep the crosshairs on the target. When the shot is lined up, the SMASH will fire the weapon, Schweiss said.

"While I am holding down this button, I am acquiring targets through image processing. ... Once I release it, it will lock the target and give me and aimpoint," he said. "Then I just hold down the trigger, align my crosshairs to where the system tells me to, and the system will fire whenever it's a hit."

"In recent years, drones and UAS have become a persistent threat over the battlefield, enabling opposing forces to gather critical tactical intelligence and even make direct attacks," Smart Shooter CEO Michael Mor said in a statement. "The SMASH family of Fire Control Solutions offers precise, swift, and simple hard-kill elimination of this threat."

As Task & Purpose previously reported, U.S. special operations forces recently tested and evaluated the SMASH 2000 fire control system downrange at the At Tanf garrison in Syria.

Photos published to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) on May 30 and first reported by The War Zone showed several unidentified U.S. service members engaging targets with M4 carbines outfitted with a SMASH system.

In the photos, "coalition forces" are pictured "zero[ing] Smart Shooter sighting devices during a familiarization range," according to a caption: "Coalition and partner forces regularly train on various weapon systems in a joint effort to help set conditions for the enduring defeat of Daesh in Syria."

Related: US special operations forces are testing a 'guaranteed hit' smart rifle system in Syria

The embrace of Smart Shooter's counter-UAS solution, among others, comes amid growing concerns among military leaders over the spread of cheap drones among U.S. adversaries across the Middle East and North Africa.

Speaking at an event at the Middle East Institute in June, U.S. Central Command chief Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie warned of the proliferation of commercial, off-the-shelf drone systems has allowed militant groups such as ISIS.

"I'm talking about the one you can go out and buy at Costco right now in the United States for a thousand dollars, four quad, rotorcraft or something like that that can be launched and flown, McKenzie said at the time. "And with very simple modifications, it can make made into something that can drop a weapon like a hand grenade or something else."

Related: CENTCOM chief: US troops can't keep up with the flood of cheap drones downrange