WASHINGTON — Smart Shooter, an Israeli company that makes weapon control systems for militaries, said it won a contract to supply the U.S. Army with its Smash 2000L optics for rifles and small arms as part of a counter-UAS program.
Terms were not disclosed. The same system is under evaluation by the U.S. Marine Corps, it said in a statement.
The system enables a user to lock onto a target, such as a small drone, and then control the fire of the rifle to be more precise and accurate. Smart Shooter says it uses artificial intelligence, assisted vision and advanced algorithms to ensure that each round finds its target in both day and night conditions, without being affected by target movement or by human errors such as fatigue and stress.
“The army contract that we received is the result of a selection of the joint counter-UAS program office,” said Scott Thompson, vice president and general manger of U.S. operations, in an interview with Defense News. “About 2 years ago they decided they needed a joint capability and stood up an office for counter-UAS technology. We were selected as the only effective kinetic solution against drones.”
U.S. commanders have warned for years about the growing threat that small drones pose. These are the kinds of drones that would be within range of a rifle, as opposed to larger UAVs that can be downed with air defense systems.
Drones can also be jammed or countered with other systems. Thompson says the joint Counter-small UAS Office selection enables other branches of the US military to choose the Smartshooter system and the army has selected it for several divisions. The Smart Shooter system was selected alongside another half-dozen counter-UAS technologies.
“Initially the contract we received were for test and evaluation of an older first generation [system] we had and now through many operational experiences we came up with the 2000L, and that’s what resonated with US army,” he said. “It’s lighter and we think better.”
The latest system, at around 1.5 pounds for the optics that are mounted on rifles. is less than half the weight of a previous model, according to the company.
In addition to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, Thompson also said that the U.S. Navy is interested in the system.
“They have a similar problem with drones when they are in port,” he said.
Smart Shooter is developing an additional capability that enables magnification, up 8 times what the eye sees for the Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate, which advances capabilities for the U.S. Department of Defense and interagency customers.
Seth J. Frantzman is the Israel correspondent for Defense News. He has covered conflict in the Mideast since 2010 for different publications. He has experience covering the international coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and he is a co-founder and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.