It could be described as VERY friendly fire.
The US Army has revealed plans to help resupply troops on the battlefield by shooting at them.
It is developing a smart mortar that contains ammunition and other items needed on the front line.
The smart mortar can be fired from an existing weapon such as the Israeli tank pictured, and can contain ammunition, fist aid supplies and other items needed on the front line.
A patent was recently granted for the projectile, known as an ‘Ammunition Resupply Projectile.’
‘This concept allows a guided package to be delivered with incredible accuracy within minutes,’ said Ryan Decker, one of seven named on the patent application.
The patent describes a tube-launched projectile that deploys a navigable payload in flight to accurately deliver a payload to a distant target.
A tail section is secured to the payload deployment section, which includes a steerable decelerator system.
That system also houses a guidance and navigation system made up of electronics, power supply and a parafoil control mechanism.
When the payload is first separated in flight it acts like a shell to protect the cargo and it is guided to the intended target via the parafoil with the aid of the guidance and navigation system.
How it works: The smart mortar can contain ammunition, fist aid supplies and other items needed on the front line. It can be fired from an existing weapon, and parachute to troops to deliver its payload.
Decker, a lead mechanical engineer for the Engineering Analysis and Evaluation Division, part of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, said there were several inspirations for the design.
‘The first being the idea of a Soldier pinned down during battle, who depletes his supply of ammunition and currently has no reasonable method of resupply until rescue arrives,’ Decker said.
‘The second source of inspiration was the development of the ‘Snowflake’ miniature guided parafoil system by Professor Oleg Yakimenko of the Naval Postgraduate School,’ he continued.
‘His system was so small that it could be packed into the volume of a cargo projectile.
‘His well-proven guidance algorithm was also the most accurate in the world, enabling precision resupply to a stranded Soldier.’
‘This invention is even more beneficial when it is realized that the payload can be easily swapped from ammunition to any device of similar size such as additional resupply items, surveillance electronics, or even a submunition which can all be delivered accurately and on target,’ said Decker.