Infantry personnel of the British Army will soon receive a cutting-edge weapon sight that will give them a tactical advantage against uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to a press release from Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), the independent procurement agency of the Ministry of Defence.

The SmartShooter SMASH Smart Weapon Sight Fire Control System will enable dismounted personnel to target micro and mini UAVs with a high success probability.

This Counter-Small Uncrewed Air Systems (C-sUAS) capability will initially be installed on the SA80 A3 assault rifle and can be added to other individual weapons already in service.

The additional capability will aid infantry in identifying a target, monitoring its movements, and sustaining a focus on the target regardless of user or target movement.

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“The importance of uncrewed aerial vehicles on the modern battlefield is undeniable,” said James Cartlidge, Minister for Defence Procurement. “Alongside procuring, developing and deploying this technology in a range of different ways, we must also be proactive in ensuring our Armed Forces can protect against their use by adversaries.”

In January of this year, Smartshooter successfully passed two prototype systems through readiness tests for the Individual Weapon Overmatch Optic (IWOO) project.

Using a see-through display, the IWOO system automatically detects, highlights, and tracks potential targets, including drones. While the soldier has the smart weapon site active, an overlay on the lens will indicate the direction to aim to in order to hit even a small aerial target moving at speed.

While the soldier is activating the firearm by applying pressure to the trigger, the system suppresses the firing mechanism until the rifle is aimed on the correct trajectory to hit its target.

Col. Paul Cummings, DE&S Dismounted Close Combat (DCC) Portfolio Leader, said that delivering this capability to soldiers by the end of the year is a sign of the commitment within DCC to being equipped for future tasks. “It’s great to see the way in which the team has reacted to tackling this emerging threat, through trials and testing, achieving contract award in short time,” said Cummings.

Under the new five-year Framework Agreement, an initial £4.6 m order for SMASH sights worth up to £20m has been approved for delivery to operational readiness units across the Dismounted Close Combat (DCC) community by the end of this year.

The contract with the Yorkshire-based SME Viking Arms Ltd will enable the delivery of additional sights to dismounted close combat operators in the Army, Navy, and RAF over the next few years, based on operational and readiness requirements.

SMASH sights are the first equipment capability delivery from Army Land Ground Based Air Defence Programme Project 6, providing C-sUAS capability to dismounted and mounted soldiers.