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DARPA awards contract to develop super sniper scope

first_imgOne of the most romanticized units in military special operations is the scout sniper team. Usually consisting of two people, a scout sniper team is able to infiltrate into enemy territory, and rain death down on targets from distances that are almost superhuman. While these teams have been incredibly efficient in past conflicts and operations, the US military is looking to make them even meaner and leaner by eliminating the need for a human spotter. To make this a reality, DARPA has just awarded a $6million contract to a company called Cubic Defense Applications to develop a laser-powered “super-scope” that will clip on to a sniper rifle.The San Diego-based defense contractor is no stranger to this kind of application, as it has been working on such a technology (albeit with little success) since 2006 in the form of a device called the “One Shot XG.”As mentioned above, a scout sniper operates in the field with a partner, called a spotter. While in movies and television shows this person simply peers into a scope and gives the order to fire a weapon, their role is much more complex than that. When firing a bullet at a target that is a long way off, there are many factors that come into play. Range, wind speed, and atmospheric conditions all play a part in the trajectory of a fired bullet, not to mention the very shape and rotation of the Earth. Simply put, these two people in the field have to make a slew of complex calculations on the fly to ensure the bullet reaches its target, which is usually moving to complicate matters. So you can see the importance of the spotter to the success of missions, however there are downsides to having two people in the field.While scout sniper teams are trained to be stealthy, a one-person unit is far more capable of moving undetected than a team of two. Being able to reduce the amount of equipment to one rifle and one scope, carried by one person, not only increases stealth, it also reduces cost. This is where Cubic comes in with its One Shot XG. The new super-scope is reportedly going to be able to use lasers to make all the necessary calculations a sniper needs. There are, of course, hurdles to overcome before this can be made a reality.Previous versions of the One Shot XG had some major issues when they were field tested. The worst being the fact that the battery that powers the device only lasting twenty minutes, as well as becoming painfully hot to the touch after just fifteen minutes of use. But with all technology, improvements that have been developed over the years can be applied and hopefully take care of those issues. Other issues that are obvious are the range of the lasers being emitted from the scope, as well as the bulk that might be necessary for such a system. The pressure is on Cubic to create ten working prototypes in just fifteen months, so we should get more word about this project then.More at Wiredlast_img read more