British Army orders game-changing anti-drone weapon sight

SMASH sight being tested on the firing range by the British Army (Image credit: British Army)
SMASH sight being tested on the firing range by the British Army (Image credit: British Army)

Earlier this month, the British Army disclosed that it will equip close combat soldiers with a pioneering anti-drone weapon sight, providing them with a significant tactical advantage in countering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The SMASH Smart Weapon Sight Fire Control System. developed by Israeli company SmartShooter, will improve the probability of successful engagement against micro- and mini-UAVs.

The increasing usage of UAVs on the battlefield, as seen in the Russia-Ukraine war, prompted the British Army to prioritise the new technology. By enhancing soldiers’ ability to counter these new drone threats effectively, the new equipment issue directly addresses the evolving threat landscape and the army’s ability to counter adversaries employing UAVs in close combat.

The SMASH sight’s technology offers superior target recognition, tracking, and lock-on capabilities, irrespective of the movement of either the target or the user. The Counter-Small Uncrewed Air Systems (C-sUAS) technology will initially be fitted to SA80 A3 assault rifles, but has the flexibility to be incorporated into other individual in-service weapons, as needed.

The British Army placed an initial order of 225 SMASH sights, procured under a £4.6 million MOD contract with Yorkshire-based Viking Arms Ltd. The sights will be delivered to Very High Readiness units across the British Army by the end of this year. Over the subsequent years, further sights are expected to be deployed across the Army, Navy, and RAF.

The new anti-drone sights underwent rigorous testing by the army’s experimentation battalion, 2 YORKS, last year. SMASH uses advanced image processing to automatically acquire a target from the sight’s field-of-view and indicates it with a box in the shooter’s reflex sight. The system will only allow firing when the sight is correctly aligned with the target, thus ensuring a high rate of success.

The roll-out of SMASH sights is the first equipment capability delivery from the Army Land Ground Based Air Defence Programme Project 6, further strengthening dismounted and mounted soldiers’ C-sUAS capabilities.

by Carrington Malin