The US Army has placed an order to acquire an Israeli-made computerized optical system to shoot down drones.
The new optical system called the SMASH 2000L or SMASH 3000 is part of the ‘SMASH’ series of autonomous fire control systems (FCS) for assault rifles created by an Israeli defense firm ‘Smart Shooter,’ to follow and lock in on targets using image processing based on artificial intelligence.
Smart Shooter’s website marketing describes its FCSs as having “One Shot—One Hit’ capability. The company boasts that it “combines simple to install hardware with advanced image-processing software to turn basic small arms into 21st-century smart weapons.”
‘SMASH’ Autonomous Fire Control System
As per the company’s claims, SMASH technology overcomes challenges faced by soldiers at battles, such as physical exertion, fatigue, stress, and mental pressure to aim accurately and ensure the shooter’s success.
Overall, the SMASH technology is said to enhance mission effectiveness by engaging accurately and eliminating ground, aerial, static, or moving targets during both day and night operations.
The US Army and Marine Corps have already acquired a limited number of older SMASH 2000 variants for counter-drone purposes. However, Smart Shooter’s product literature for this variant does not officially detail its counter-small unmanned aerial systems (C-sUAS) role, even though the SMASH 2000 has been tested in these scenarios.
US Special Operation forces have been known to conduct tests with SMASH 2000s in Syria, firing at decoy targets hanging below commercial drones to evaluate the system’s sUAS targeting ability.
Notably, the Indian Navy also acquired an unknown number of SMASH 2000s from Smart Shooter in 2020, precisely for counter-drone purposes. The Indian Army has also been testing the efficacy of the Israeli SMASH 2000 Plus systems and is looking to fast-track its acquisition.
As per the press release issued by Smart Shooter, the contract for the ‘2000L’ variant was awarded to the company by a US-based contractor, Atlantic Diving Supply (ADS), that provides military equipment to American federal agencies.
The press release did not disclose the value of the contract or the number of SMASH 2000L sights to be supplied as part of the contract.
SMASH 2000L Optical Sight
Like its predecessor, the SMASH 2000L uses AI, computer vision, and advanced algorithms to maximize force lethality, operational effectiveness, and situational awareness throughout every engagement day and night.
The ‘L’ in the SMASH 2000L stands for ‘light,’ as this is the lightest handheld-operated fire control system (FCS) created by Smart Shooter. It is said to ensure precise target elimination against ground and aerial targets, making it an ideal hard-kill solution against drones and sUAS.
It has see-through optics similar to a video camera that can reportedly detect possible targets the user can lock onto, and the system then computes the right point of aim. Once locked, the target can also be tracked before a shot is taken, thereby allowing target discrimination in crowded areas, which could be challenging.
When the SMASH 2000L operates in what Smart Shooter refers to as ‘Drone Mode,’ it can recognize sUAS targets, track their flight paths, provide aiming cues, and enable the user to engage the target with more accuracy, which could be otherwise very difficult.
Against sUAS, the SMASH 2000L is said to have an engagement range of around 200 meters during the daytime, while the company has not disclosed the night-time performance specifications of the system.
Moreover, the system can be connected with command, control, communications, computers, intelligence (C4I) systems, and external sensors, allowing the video feed taken from the SMASH 2000L to be relayed elsewhere for either training or operational purposes.
This also means that the SMASH 2000L can serve in a secondary survey and surveillance role.
The SMASH 2000L is powered by a rechargeable smart lithium-ion battery pack that allows it to function for 72 hours.
As per Smart Shooter’s claims, the system can be fitted to most weapons, including the M4, AR15, and SR25 (M110) assault rifles.
“We are honored that the US Army continues to value our true fire control systems and once again selects the SMASH technology for the use of its soldiers.
Whether mounted on a rifle or remotely controlled, the unique SMASH technology ensures precise target elimination by guaranteeing that shot accuracy will not be affected by human errors such as fatigue and stress, nor by the target movement,” said Michal Mor, founder and CEO of Smart Shooter.