Is this the dawn of the American super sniper? The U.S. military has acquired and is now testing “smart” rifles with the potential to be a game-changer on the modern battlefield.
“The military has purchased several units for testing and evaluation purposes,” said Oren Schauble, a marketing official with Texas based TrackingPoint Inc., defense website Military.com reported. The firm specializes in creating precision guided firearms.
While at the nation’s largest gun show in Las Vegas, Nev., the SHOT Show, the U.S. Army is said to have purchased six “smart” rifles after witnessing the product’s performance in the hands of novice shooters. Each rifle can cost up to $27,000, according to Military.com — but the rifle’s performance won them over.
A correspondent working for Military.com hit a target from roughly 1,000 yards away on his first shot. He reported that of 70 or so reporters and novice shooters who tried the rifle, only “one or two” missed from the extended range.
TrackingPoint Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jason Schaubie told the defense website that military snipers have a fire-shot success rate from that range of between 20 percent to 30 percent (which jumps to 70 percent on their second attempt).
“That is a better day than usual,” said Schaube. “I would say we’re at about 70 percent first-shot success probability at 1,000 yards … with inexperienced shooters.”
According to Military.com, the weapon collects “imagery and ballistic data such as atmospheric conditions, cant, inclination, even the slight shift of the Earth’s rotation known as the Coriolis effect,” for soldiers. In short, the rifle gives troops data on the most important data except wind speed; the soldier must calculate that manually.
When Military.com asked Mr. Schaube what the sniper community thinks of the smart rifle, he replied: “This is not necessarily for them. This is for guys who don’t have that training who need to perform in greater capabilities. This is more for your average soldier.”
Could the smart rifle turn average soldiers into sniper-caliber marksman and snipers into super snipers? Only time will tell.