A carbine that can call in an air offensive. A computer-aided scope on a machine gun that can flip nearly anyone into a marksman. Even firearms that measure and track every movement, from the angle of the barrel to the precise moment of each shot fired, which could present law enforcement with a digital record of police shootings.
The application of knowledge technology to firearms has long been resisted in the U.S. by gun owners and law enforcement officers who worry they could be hacked, fail at the wrong second, or invite government control.
However, with the U.S. Military soliciting bids for high-tech battlefield solutions to create the soldier’s rifle of the future, these concerns might quickly turn irrelevant. The Military is moving ahead regardless.
One company bidding for an Army contract is working on an operating system that could be implanted into the gun, which could have law-enforcement and civilian applications that will reshape the U.S. debate about gun safety.
That system may eventually add a variety of applications, Smith said, including “smart gun” expertise that would only permit the weapon to be fired by a designated shooter’s hand.
Smart weapons, in theory, might prevent kids from accidentally firing guns at home, or render stolen weapons useless.
The Army’s specs are that its Next-gen Squad Weapon – carbines and machine guns – come geared up with a “smart rail,” a communications and power interface between the analog arm and digital technology.