Project Description


Smart munition sorting, selection, and deployment magazine for medium caliber weapon systems

Future robotic weapon systems and weapon systems operators will use advanced “Smart” munitions technology to affect improved lethality and accuracy on the battlefield. Smart rounds can be used to deploy precision guided munitions with a variety of functions, including thermobaric, airbursting, armor-piercing, and non-lethal rounds. With advances in micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) the capabilities of smart munitions is increasing and price-per-round is decreasing. This presents an opportunity to move these smart munitions systems from low-rate-of-fire weapons systems like the XM25 Punisher, to high-rate-of-fire systems such as the M230 chain gun found on the AH-64 Apache helicopter.

The last barrier to achieving this critical tactical integration is a “Smart-Feed” magazine and deployment system to first locate a specific round in a magazine, and then deploy the selected smart round to the weapon system. The use of Smart rounds will result in the warfighter’s spending less time engaged in costly and potentially deadly fire exchanges with enemy forces. To achieve this, SMRC’s SmartMag technology is a round sorting and selection platform developed for ammunition rounds of the Apache helicopter.

For the SmartMag program, SMRC has partnered with the leading supplier of linkless ammunition handling systems to the Department of Defense. The Apache was the first platform targeted for this technology and represents the core of the initial SmartMag design effort. Other target platforms for SmartMag include Blackhawk, AC-130, Stryker, and Super Cobra, among others.

  • Round type classification using color bands and Red Green Blue (RGB) sensor. SmartMag technology development is independent of the round type classification mechanism and can be deployed for RFID and other round identification technologies. Capable of reading more than 600 rounds per minute.

  • Well-founded Apache magazine technology with demonstrated reliability greater than 10,000 Mean Rounds Between Failure (MRBF).

  • Firing rate dependent on mode of operation with a maximum firing rate of 600 rounds per minute.

  • Selection accuracy greater than 99%.

  • Storage capacity is 560 rounds.

  • Adaptable to all linear linkless chain-fed weapons platforms including AC-130, Blackhawk, and Cobra.