The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a research and development contractor in cahoots with the US Department of Defense, recently granted Lockheed Martin a $6.9 million contract to produce renovated versions of their One Shot laser-based sniper rifles. Proposed adjustments will be made to improve consistency at longer distances and to make the overall weapon system more discrete in the field.
A defining issue with current military sniper scopes is that they have no way to measure wind at long distances, clearly disadvantageous quality for riflemen tasked with taking increasingly protracted shots while in the line of duty. The One Shot rifle employs a combination rig to combat this problem: first a laser and camera are used in concert to calculate wind speed and while a group of highly sophisticated sensors account for atmospheric conditions. The spotting scope and rifle scope optics system is effective at distances up to 1500 meters and also translates into direct-view optics and enhanced night vision capability. The result is a system that enables snipers to better identify targets and quantify their location regardless of environmental conditions.
“Our ability to monitor wind conditions in real time is unmatched. One Shot increases the probability of hitting the target with the first round,” said Dan Schultz, a vice president at Lockheed Martin.
Two years ago, DARPA conferred a $9.7 million contract on Lockheed to create the above mentioned One Shot system prototype. Tactical field tests in 2009 indicated an increase in the probability of a first-round hit between two and four times depending on the shooters’ distance to the target. These tests also demonstrated that, when placed under identical conditions, snipers could engage targets in about half the amount of time as they could with previous weapons systems.
The revamped One Shot systems will see testing with DARPA and the U.S. military services in the coming months.