Among other products aimed at improving soldier effectiveness, Thales showed an Australian plug-and-play rifle system at the AUSA expo in Washington last month.
The SmartGrip Rifle Input Control (RIC) produced by Australia's Kord Defence provides a single device to control a range of accessories used by the individual such as radios and weapon sights.
The SmartGrip is a push button controller that provides fast, one-handed control of multiple electronic devices, without always having to look at a display - anywhere and under almost any condition.
It is operated by pressing single or multiple buttons (called chords).
It may be hand-held or body worn or it may be incorporated within other devices such as the sleeve of a Pocket PC, attached to the front of a weapon; or the steering wheel of a car.
Small on-screen symbols show which buttons to press.
Initially, the symbols guide the user (which is useful for training purposes) but after a relatively short time he remembers the combinations (from muscle memory) and if necessary the interface can be operated “eyes free” – without the need for a display.
Audio and voice prompting can be used to enhance this capability.
The SmartGrip contains a small programmable microprocessor for interfacing to a range of electronic devices such as: Thermal Weapon Sights, Infra-red Sensors, Night Aiming Devices, Laser Range Finders, Radios, Torches and Computers.
It can also be customised to meet individual user requirements or for particular roles or functions.
Adding new devices requires a simple firmware upgrade instead of replacing the whole unit.
Canberra-based Kord Defence has collaborated with Thales Australia to jointly develop a push-button, controller for military and paramilitary use.
Called the Rifle Input Control (RIC) it attaches to the front picatinny rail of most common rifles.
It has been designed to provide dismounted close combat soldiers with a fast (instinctive) and simple way of remotely controlling devices attached to their weapon, body or helmet, without the need to take either their eyes or hands off task.
A variant called the Rifle SmartGrip has been developed for use in Homeland Security and Law Enforcement applications.