The British Army is taking decisive steps to counter the escalating threat posed by micro and mini drones. In an effort to tackle this evolving challenge, the infantry’s SA80 A3 assault rifles will now be equipped with the SmartShooter SMASH Smart Weapon Sight Fire Control System, thanks to a £4.6 million investment.
The rapid advancement of technology has brought about a proliferation of military drones in various sizes and forms, mirroring the explosion of life forms that occurred on Earth over 500 million years ago. From large fixed-wing drones with global reach to small insect-like rotorcraft, these unmanned aerial vehicles now occupy every battlefield niche. However, this expansion in drone capabilities has necessitated the development of countermeasures.
To address the need for Counter-Small Uncrewed Air Systems (C-sUAS) capability, the SMASH system was created. Designed to seamlessly integrate with the SA80 A3 assault rifle and other individual service weapons, this smart weapon sight incorporates an image processor enhanced with artificial intelligence. It automatically detects and tracks drones within its field of view, effectively painting a target box around them. Once the sight is aligned, the rifle is authorized to fire, significantly increasing the likelihood of neutralizing the drone threat.
The new SMASH sights have already undergone testing by 2 YORKS, the army’s experimentation battalion. Under the current contract, 225 SMASH sights will be distributed to Very High Readiness units throughout the British Army by the year’s end. In the following years, additional sights will be acquired from Viking Arms Ltd, based in Yorkshire, to outfit the rest of the army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force.
Wing Commander Mark Bowden, Programmes Directorate, Counter-UAS SO1, expressed satisfaction with the introduction of this cutting-edge equipment, stating, “We are very pleased to announce the arrival of the first dismounted C-sUAS equipment into the core equipment program. SMASH is a proven capability already in service with our allies and partners. As we have seen in Ukraine and other operational areas, the UAS threat is growing significantly. SMASH offers significant enhancement to the close combat operator across all three Services, delivering a tactical edge to the dismounted soldier in the C-sUAS battle.”
With the deployment of the SmartShooter SMASH Smart Weapon Sight Fire Control System, the British Army is bolstering its defense against small drones, ensuring that individual soldiers are equipped with the necessary tools to effectively address this emerging threat.