For all those who are military savvy, they know that there are a myriad of options that come with the 40mm artillery rounds; training, green, high velocity and what not. So, if you plan on bringing something new to this market, it has to be different and unique in its own way. ST Kinetics, which is basically a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies conglomerate has risen up to this task and has delivered quite a product!
The latest round type is being called SPARCS, Soldier Parachute Aerial Reconnaissance Camera System that does exactly what the name says. This round, when fired, will climb for 150 meters and the descend will generally follow the same calculation but with a tweak; it employs a small camera that will make use of a parachute to fall slowly towards ground while continuously transmitting images to the ground units where these images will be converted to higher resolution image and can then be zoomed and used for gaining intel. So basically what you are looking at is a round that is capable of carrying a payload, the payload being the camera of course.
This is the task for which a drone is usually employed, but if you are using these mortar rounds then you are being economical and diligent. The round is more expendable and provides rapid results, which is unparalleled. The feed coming from the camera is encoded via phase alternating line scheme with no encryption at all. The reason being explained quite skillfully by ST Kinetics spokesperson; ‘As an enemy; if you intercept it, so be it: it’s your area!’ However, the device doesn’t store any information on itself and the images that will be transmitted shall be of little strategic value to the enemy. The base station will be receiving the signal from the camera and this base station is compatible with Android and other military gear as well.
Smart ammunition is not something new in the market and the idea has been afloat for quite some time now. We have already seen the pre-timed mortar rounds that are set to go off after a certain time, greatly enhancing the fighting strength of soldiers and allowing them to take out even those enemies that are behind cover by making use of the smart ammunition.
According to ST Kinetics, the business is good and they have already secured orders worth $30 million only from US Army. It also says that UK and Canada are interested too, but US is the top player when it comes to trying out new technology that is military related.