Long-range sniper system is the BOSS
The BOSS is a fully integrated, rifle-mounted (using the Picatinny Rail), automated fire-control system for sniper weapons. [Photo Credit: U.S. Army]
By PM Soldier Weapons
What does it take for an Army sniper to accurately hit a person-size target at extreme ranges?
The Army thinks it may have the answer to this challenge in a new integrated fire control sighting system for military sniper weapons called the Ballistically Optimized Sniper Scope or BOSS.
"To improve sniper effectiveness, especially at extended distances, we need to find a way to increase accuracy by reducing aiming errors, and minimize the time for the shooter to figure out where to correctly aim his weapon," says Regina Stonitsch, Assistant Product Manager for BOSS at Project Manager (PM) Soldier Weapons. "We believe the answer could be the BOSS Project."
"Since sniper rifle and ammunition technologies are unlikely to change considerably in the foreseeable future, we're concentrating our efforts on developing a revolutionary fire control system that will provide a leap in shooter performance and likewise a big return on investment," she says.
The goal of PM Soldier Weapons, headquartered at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, is to "develop, acquire, field, and sustain dominant soldier weapon systems for the Army," with a focus on being immediately responsive to the Soldiers' wartime requirements.
The BOSS is a fully integrated, rifle-mounted (using the Picatinny Rail), automated full-solution fire-control system for sniper weapons. It has a variable power (6-22x magnification) direct-view optic coupled with a precision, eye-safe laser range finder. The system also contains an internal environmental sensor suite, platform orientation inclinometers, and sophisticated ballistic calculator.
The ballistic calculator uses range, environmental, and weapon orientation data to compute a ballistic solution based on weapon and ammunition. It provides an adjusted aim point in the scope, which the shooter then places on target and fires.
The entire time, the shooter never removes his eye from the scope nor loses his sight picture of the target. This allows the shooter to maintain better situational awareness and avoids extra time and effort in reacquiring the target.
BOSS also provides fail-safe sniper operations in case its power source or electronics fail.
The BOSS system contains an internal environmental sensor suite, platform orientation inclinometers, and sophisticated ballistic calculator.
The Army acquired a number of advanced technology demonstrator BOSS prototypes and evaluated them over the past year at numerous military bases and Army test centers.
According to Stonitsch, the BOSS prototypes were sniper-vetted against personnel-size targets out to the maximum effective range limits of our current sniper systems.
However, the system is capable of accurately ranging and calculating the required ballistic reticle for those types of targets at a comfortable distance, well beyond effective weapon system (rifle/ammo) engagement constraints.
Collected data shows the BOSS will progressively increase the probability of a hit, as a function of range, by nearly an order of magnitude at the most extreme range and can reduce engagement times by 50 percent across all ranges.
The system ballistically supports a variety of weapon and ammunition combinations. Shooters can customize it based on observed firing characteristics, such as measured muzzle velocities and pre-transonic zone zeroing or, in other words, just before the bullet starts transitioning to subsonic speeds.
Soldier load is important, and the BOSS is lightweight, weighing 3.5 lb. It eliminates the need for the discrete sniper accessory kit items currently carried by snipers that perform the same ballistic computation tasks but weigh twice as much.
The system is part of the Army's overall effort to invest in new, sophisticated small arms fire control systems to enhance Soldier lethality while reducing some of what soldiers have to think about under battlefield stress.
"The BOSS is currently designed for snipers, but its technologies can be easily adapted to other small arms weapon systems," Stonitsch says. "It could be a game-changer for our warfighters by taking the guesswork out of aiming and making virtually anyone a marksman with the touch of a button."
If the Army decides to develop, produce, and field the BOSS, it could be available to soldiers as soon as 2020, she says.
Published January 2017
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