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Iran Press TV

US Special Op forces testing Israeli-made smart rifle system in Syria

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 07 June 2020 2:16 AM

US special operations forces are currently testing and evaluating an Israeli-developed computerized fire control and rifle sight system downrange in Syria, according to the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

"We are evaluating the Smart Shooter system as a potential individual-level solution to enhancing Special Operations Forces capabilities for countering unmanned aerial systems," SOCOM spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Hawkins confirmed as quoted in a Friday report by US-based military news outlet Task & Purpose.

According to the report, the SMASH 2000, developed by Israeli military contractor Smart Shooter in cooperation with Sig Sauer, uses a weapon-mounted optic and special pistol grip that "allows you to acquire, lock on and engage targets ... [and] the weapon to fire only when it's a guaranteed hit," as stated by company CEO Devin Schweiss.

Photos published to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) on May 30, first reported by The War Zone, show several US soldiers at the Syria-based At-Tanf military garrison engaging targets with M4 carbines outfitted with a SMASH 2000 system.

Hawkins further added that the command purchased the SMASH 2000 systems from Smart Shooter in March 2019 to evaluate the capability in an operational environment.

The US troops pictured in the DVIDS photos appear to be practicing on a target suspended from a small personal drone as part of training on tracking and engaging the unmanned aerial systems that have overwhelmed American forces in Syria in recent months.

SOCOM, the report insists, is not the only command interested in the Smart Shooter systems, citing Schweiss as saying that the US Army is currently evaluating the SMASH 2000 as part of its search for an advanced fire control system to go with the service's Next-Generation Squad Weapon.

The focus on countering unmanned aerial systems in Syria is of growing significance to the American military in the region as US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie emphasized during congressional testimony in March that troops deployed to Syria had in recent months come under attack from drones laden with explosives that were "possibly" operated by suspected ISIS militants in the region.

Hostile drones "have expanded in size, sophistication, range, lethality and numbers" and are being used throughout CENTCOM's area of responsibility, McKenzie wrote, noting that "low velocity and altitude makes them difficult to detect on radar and limited options exist in effectively defeating them."

This is while the unfunded priorities list requested $67.6 million for systems to "help counter these airborne IEDs and intelligence gatherers," according to the report.

"We're open to anything, and a lot of smart people are looking at this," McKenzie further stated back in March. "This is a significant threat."

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