Monday, June 8, 2009

I love my job...

As I am still working on the linking thing (and this article couldn't link), I just copied it whole from New Scientist. The comments I left off as they took a severe left turn about why waste money and resourses when babies are starving, etc. I will couple this with the fact that I was at the Fires Center of Excellence Fires Seminar this last week and got to walk through the displays of new stuff. But first read the article.

New Army Rifle Fires Laser-Guided Smart Bullets With Onboard Targeting Chips
New rifles with explosive rounds can be told where to detonate
By Dan Smith Posted 06.05.2009 at 5:09 pm 10 Comments

Smart Rifle: You won't see the rifle or the bullet until it's too late
It would be hard to describe a bullet as smart, but what if that bullet was laser-guided, radio-controlled, and carried an onboard targeting CPU? The US Army has announced the creation of the XM25 rifle, which can fire a new type of explosive round that fit that exact description. Imagine the implications: hitting targets inside buildings or hiding around walls. Whoa.
First, the scope on the rifle has a laser that gauges the distance to the target. The soldier can set exactly where the 25-millimeter bullet will detonate by adding or subtracting 3 meters from that point. Then, the scope will send a radio signal to a chip inside the bullet telling it how far it should travel before exploding.
Now, here’s where things get truly nuts: Each bullet has a small magnetic transducer that interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field, generating a tiny alternating current every time it spins as it speeds toward the target. Measured against the gun's specially calibrated rifling, this means the bullet can keep track of how far it has traveled in real time. Whoa, again.

Smart Bullets In Action: Trenches are no longer a safe place to hide The Army has proposed the uses can range from hitting enemies hidden in trenches (as pictured above), or even hitting a sniper hiding in a building by setting the range about a meter beyond the window. They are also proposed as a smarter alternative to grenade launchers, which can serve the same purpose but be less accurate and have limited range, making them more prone to collateral damage.
The Army will begin field tests with the XM25 system soon, with hopes of deploying it into regular duty by 2012.[New Scientist]

Neat stuff. Sci-Fi gear in real world. That goes double for the stuff at the seminar. M777s (the new howitzer), the new ADA systems, the NLOS system (think a Javelin type missile fired from the bed of a truck, but with a range of 80 kms and guided by satellites). The proof that I had "grown up" in terms of neat stuff was the Command and Control Vehicles they had come up with. A Bradley M3 IFV that was completely redone and had 4 computer systems and radios. You could run a battalion CP while driving on the road and not miss a beat. And it looks exactly like every other M3 Bradley so there is no "SHOOT HERE" sign because of too many radio antennas.

Tech rocks.


  1. that Bradley is neat; no shelling the HQ when there's no discernable HQ

  2. When I read the start of the post I thought of the movie "Runaway", but then remembered seeing aspects of this weapon system elsewhere awhile back (2-3 years ago I think on Janes) but not the ability for the round to track how far its gone due to round rotations.
    Everything else sounds pretty neat too except for the Bradley which is still a piece of crap (too high of a profile and not enough armor). Hopefully you'll get a Stryker command vehicle instead with the similar non-descript features.

  3. You sir can drop dead about the Bradley. Until you have done your job in a FISTV, you do not have the right to talk about pieces of crap (erm, unless we are talking about chemicals).

    Thing about the new Bradley command vehicle is that it doesn't have the big turret, just a remote .50 cal. So its much lower. Also remember that is not supposed to be fighting, just commanding and controlling. You want to talk IFV version, okay you have a couple of points. But do remember that its done VERY well for use in several wars so far.

    But enough of the Bradley. The FDC mod vehicle was the real rocker for me. They took a FAASV (an armored ammo carrier for the Paladin) and stripped out all the ammo stuff and put in a FA command suite. That was truely the bomb. C2 while driving around was killer, C2 and Fire Direction while driving around was more so (and much more roomy too).

    And the Striker C2 version is in the works.

  4. Well if they have dropped the turret off that helps the profile greatly, and yes, my comments are strictly on the IFV version which I was thinking they just took and crammed in command components [not uncommon for defense primes to do this and call it good]. Stil, I hope they've uparmored the thing a bit even if it is just C2 and not meant to be in direct fire situations. I still think a C2 stryker will be more mobile though than a tracked M3 in some situations (no tracks to throw in rocky and sandy terrain). Still, I like tanks and treaded vehicles so the C2 FAASV sounds quite interesting.

  5. I wonder how they'll calibrate the XML25 bullets' distance calculation against the bullets' arcs, since the distance a laser travels will be different than that of the bullet. Negligible at closer ranges, I suppose.

  6. They've got software packages that do a very good job of calculating ballistic arcs so it should be easy enough to do. Plus since it is an explosion, it's not like you need microsecond accuracy, milliseconds and inches should be more than enough to ensure the round goes off where you want it to.

  7. The thing to remember is that we are not taking really massive ranges here. This is an infantry weapon. Infantry fights take place between 0 to 200 meters for most infantry men. Anything further away becomes more of a heavy weapon fight (IFVs, heavy MGs, mortars, etc). This thing doesn't really need to worry about arcs as you really are not going to be shooting it far enough (most of the time) to worry about arcs. This is really a cut down cannon so we are talking straight line shooting for most engagements. And for arcing, its is actually quite easy to do with the naked eye. There is a manual setting for this that will get used a lot.

    The C2 vehicles are a great thing certainly. Much more survivable than the old M113 models (a FISTV is one). Not such a useful thing in counterinsurgency which is really boots on the ground. But for a moving fight, this stuff rules.