With all this talk of torture of late it would be easy to overlook the fact that American forces, often at their own peril, have taken extreme measures to minimize civilian and even combatant casualties in defense of our interests around the world.
Last week’s standoff between pirates and the U.S. Navy in the Indian Ocean ended famously with three sniper shots, as a drone watched overhead. In 2008, French special forces captured six pirates on land after ransom had been paid. “There were four helicopters involved,” The Independent reported at the time. “A sniper [in a Puma helicopter] shot out the motor of the pirates’ four-wheel drive vehicle. A second helicopter [a Gazelle] then landed nearby, allowing the six pirates to be arrested” — without any casualties.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) uses helicopter-borne snipers to take out drug-running boats. They are accurate enough to knock out engines without harming the crew or damaging fuel tanks. “The driver just threw his hands up,” concludes the description of one such action in Men’s Vogue, after all three engines were disabled with three shots.
The latest installment in technology designed for the precision required for this policy: behold our latest Hot Gear Friday Installment, the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System
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 (on the right in the picture above), which is currently fitted with a powerful RND Manufacturing Edge 2000 rifle specifically designed for sniping work, using the heavyweight .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge.
HT Dr. Dave