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In modern warfare, the advantage often goes to guerrillas who can attack, then quickly hide among the population or disappear into the hills. To counter those tactics, the Pentagon since 2001 has been arming unmanned aerial vehicles to identify and destroy targets with missiles. The Defense Department is seeking weapons for UAVs that can strike enemies but limit collateral damage, especially in cities.  

The Army’s solution is the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System (ARSS), a small, unmanned helicopter equipped with a powerful .338-caliber rifle. An autopilot system handles the tricky business of flying while the operator lines up the kill shot on a remote monitor. 

 The Army ground-tested the rifle’s turret on a Vigilante unmanned helicopter to evaluate its accuracy. The turret-contro lhardware and flight-control algorithms will be refined to make shots more accurate before airborne testing begins in July. The program’s heads say the airborne robo-sniper idea was put forward five years ago, but only became practical when Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory designed a lightweight, stabilized turret. Users control it with an adapted Xbox 360 controller. The same turret could be used on unmanned fixed-wing aircraft such as the Predator Reaper and could also allow ground robots to fire on the move.

 

Anywho, check out these system specs:

Vigilante 502 Unmanned Helicopter
Max Weight: 1100 pounds
Length: 26 feet
Rotor Diameter: 23 feet
Top Speed:
 117 mph
Payload:
 150 pounds
Fuel Capacity:
 36 gallons
Flight Time: 6-plus hours
RND Manufacturing Edge 2000 Rifle

+ Cartridge: Lapua Magnum .338
Weight: 14 pounds
Action: Gas-operated semiautomatic
Muzzle Velocity: 3000 feet per second with 250-grain bullet
Rate of Fire: Up to 10 carefully aimed shots per minute
Ammunition Cost: $4 per round

Source: Popular Mechanics

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