US Army tests flying robot sniper

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Washington, April 23 (ANI): The US Army is testing the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System (ARSS) - a remote-controlled unmanned vigilante robot helicopter equipped with a high-velocity sniper rifle.

According to a report by Fox News, its RND Edge semi-automatic gun is mounted on a self-stabilizing turret with built-in zoom camera, and fires 7 to 10 precisely aimed .338-caliber rounds per second.

Back on the ground, a human directs it using a modified Xbox 360 controller, which plugs into a laptop so that the operator can see what the drone sees.

The system is intended for the urban battlefield - an eye in the sky that can stare down concrete canyons, and blink out targets with extreme precision.

Attempting to return fire against the ARSS is liable to be a near-suicidal act, as ARSS is described as being able to fire seven to 10 aimed shots per minute, and it's unlikely to miss.

Because the Vigilante is smaller, lighter and cheaper than a manned combat helicopter, it can be supplied in greater numbers, and without the need for those elite, highly-trained snipers.

Sniping from a chopper currently takes tons of skill and training, but ARSS is literally point-and-shoot for the operator on the ground, using a videogame-type controller.

The software makes all the necessary corrections, and the system should ensure first-round kills at several hundred yards.

The secret is in the control system and stabilized turret, which is currently fitted with a powerful RND Manufacturing Edge 2000 rifle specifically designed for sniping work, using the heavyweight .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge.

"Having the ability to accurately engage single point man sized targets with an airborne UAV will give the ground based soldier the ability to have a high-point survivable sniper at their disposal when needed," stated the Army solicitation notice when the project was announced in 2005. (ANI)

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