At Milipol, I was walking around FN Herstal's booth, playing with futuristic-looking P90s, Five-Sevens and F2000s when I noticed a camera-toting tourist pretend-blasting with something very very cool: The Armatronics "Black Box" suite with Moving Red Dot Fire Control.
They'd taken a SCAR assault rifle, and put a "black box" inside the handgrip, networking it with the soldier ("with a kind of Bluetooth" according to the PR guy), and also to home base. The grip is a sealed, 10-year unit that logs the number of bullets fired and remaining ammo a la Aliens. They're also working on pairing to specific soldiers, perhaps using biometrics. Deactivating it if the Taliban get it, for instance? "In the near future," said PR man enigmatically.
The second part of the suite is the Moving Red Dot Fire Control Unit, which is a networked firing solution computer for the grenade launcher. You press a button next to the trigger to activate the laser rangefinder, then the computer calculates the solution, shows it to you in the LED display, then moves the red dot to aim it. That's right—laser-guided grenades. You are your own air support. [FN Herstal]
Apoorva Prasad is a freelance writer and photographer based in Paris, France, who covered the Milipol 2009 military-police expo for us. He has a thing for holo-scoped assault rifles, and sounds disappointed when admitting he's never been Tased.