Canada and the term “smart gun” somehow sounds unlikely, but it’s true. The country that is better known for its maple leaf, maple syrup and gentle Mounties has now made its mark with a dubious yet significant addition. The new weapon developed by the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) or (RDDC in French) is by no means just a weapon. With the appearance of one of the gizmos from an Arnold Schwarzenegger blockbuster, this smart gun is capable of delivering multiple-gauge ammo and can even launch grenades.
Development of DRDC’s New Smart Gun
The DRDC has been developing this weapon since 2009, and it was not a single-handed exercise. The new weapon has been developed jointly with by the DRDC and Colt Canada. It has been likened to a modern-day version of the development of the Colt .45, the “gun that won the West”. One of the major motivational factors for this smart gun’s creation seems to be the real-time experiences of the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan in 2001. Ammunition testing was conducted by the Munitions Experimental Test Centre in Valcartier, Quebec.
The human aspect to the rifle was also carefully considered, for various human-related parameters such as ergonomics and general comfort levels while handling. Human-factor trials were carried out by Human Systems Inc. The new smart gun, which has yet to be named is the latest buzz on the internet, with several videos of the prototype being fired under test conditions, doing the rounds.
Features of DRDC’s Smart Gun
General features include the rifle’s capacity to deliver lightweight cased telescoped ammunition. It has a data rail and power that complies with NATO standards so that the accessories used by this weapon like position sensors and electro-optical sights can be aligned with existing NATO systems.
The weapon is designed to fire multiple ammunition, with added flexibility due to its two separate barrels. The rifle has a “bullpup” configuration, which means that the cartridge is housed behind the trigger. It fires 5.56 mm caliber bullets but also has a 12-gauge shotgun barrel. Alternatively, this rifle has the capacity of firing three rounds of 40 mm grenades. It is also lightweight, which means that it probably weighs less that a C7 with an M203 grenade launcher.
This smart gun will also be adaptable for use in different environment and combat situations. According to Lieutenant-Colonel Serge Lapointe, Canadian Army, “It will be able to operate in all theatres of operations in the most complex terrain including urban areas, mountains, jungles, deserts and the Arctic.” A great deal of research has also gone into the target acquisition aspect of the weapon. The technology used here enables the rifle to automatically detect and engage targets, through an array of position sensors and electro-optical sights.
The Future of the Futuristic Smart Gun
The future prospects of DRDC’s new smart gun indeed look promising for future soldiers. Thanks to the electronics embedded into the weapon’s system, a soldier will be able to receive or generate data and communicate with the command and control network. The second phase will be ushered in with the formation of the Future Small Arms Research (FSAR) project, which will essentially deal with the further development of the detection of targets, and their engagement, in even more detail.
DRDC’s smart gun project is expected to contribute richly to the documentation of the project of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Small Arms Modernization Project. Indeed, as the development of this weapon progresses, it is expected to usher in a new generation of small arms for the Canadian Armed Forces, bringing them on par with the other developed countries in the world in the field of weaponry.
(Photo Credit: Gizmodo)