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British Army Begins Fielding AI-Enabled ‘SMASH’ Anti-Drone Tech

The British Army has begun fielding a new military technology that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to take down hostile drones.

Paratroopers from the 16 Air Assault Brigade in Colchester were the first to receive the SmartShooter SMASH anti-drone weapon sights, a move expected to revolutionize the neutralization of uncrewed systems.

They are now undergoing training on how to use the system effectively.

According to warrant officer Joe Cooke, who leads the brigade’s training, their only option to target a drone was to shoot at it. “They are small and mobile targets that are very hard to hit,” he told BBC.

However, with the arrival of SMASH technology, even medics and signallers can reportedly shoot at enemy drones “with an accuracy they have never achieved before.”

‘One Shot, One Hit’

In June 2023, the UK’s defense procurement arm ordered hundreds of SMASH smart weapon sights for 4.6 million pounds ($5.8 million).

The move aimed to provide the British Army with a tactical advantage on the battlefield amid the emergence of sophisticated aerial threats.

With the tagline, “One shot, one hit,” the tech uses AI-enabled image processing software to recognize a target, track and predict its movements, and lock onto it, even when on the move.

It will initially be mounted on the SA80 A3 assault rifle, which will only be permitted to fire when it is aligned to hit.

With its promising capabilities, the UK Ministry of Defence said it believes the SMASH will give soldiers on the ground a “high probability rate” of shooting down targets.

“Adding this capability to our core equipment program is another example of us procuring the right kit, at the right time for our personnel,” British defense procurement minister James Cartlidge said last year.

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