Army developers have entered the second phase of testing a computer-controlled, stabilized system that can auto-correct a rifle’s aim for pinpoint accuracy and identify and recommend targets.
The active stabilization or AIMLOCK system still requires a human to squeeze the trigger, but everything else about marksmanship — azimuth, target movement, airspeed, velocity, range, vehicle motion and even shooter instability — is corrected by the built-in computer system, according to an Army release.
Army officials with the Joint Service Small Arms Program office first began looking at the program in its conceptual phase in 2012, dubbing it the Future Integral Targeting Engagement System.
The program’s aim is to “create a technology that would translate a shooter’s intent into perfect execution every time, on any firearm, in any situation,” according to the release.
That first phase identified the Colorado-based AIMLOCK company as a provider of the systems researchers would develop.
“The technology was originally conceived for hunting applications but was soon adapted and modified and led to AIMLOCK, providing a solution that allows the weapon and shooter to fire from a variety of unsupported positions,” said Terence Rice, project management engineer with the small arms program.
The system can be fired from stationary, supported or unsupported positions, or while walking and on or inside a vehicle or aircraft, officials said.
“The platform was not tied to any specific weapon,” Rice said.
For demonstration purposes, researchers used the M4.
The system includes “active target detection” that searches the shooter’s field of view for target profiles and highlights them for shooter evaluation.
The FITES technology being developed is slated for inclusion in the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program, that looks to develop five different-sized aircraft but will share common features such as avionics, engines, countermeasures and sensors, according to the release.
Phase two is a three-year “roadmap” to develop the AIMLOCK technology across other types of small arms and begin field testing and evaluation.
The Air Force is evaluating AIMLOCK for use as base security and the Coast Guard is researching options for use on boats.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.