A gun’s lifespan is greatly affected by how often it is fired. It is impractical, however, to expect soldiers to document their weapon use in the field, especially in the heat of battle. A new RFID-enabled system being tested by the Army automates the process.
The system, designed by the Army’s Benét Laboratories research center, begins with a piezoelectric sensor that tracks when a weapon is fired by sensing its recoil. A tiny processor records the sensor’s data. An attached RFID tag enables the system to communicate the information easily via reader scans. The system package is capable of extrapolating complex statistics based on the intensity of fire, such as strain and heat, which help gauge the wear and tear on the weapon.
The prototype was first tested on medium-caliber cannons installed on M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, and commercial versions of the equipment could begin appearing by the end of the year.
“We envision a system that will automatically count rounds fired, perform basic health monitoring, and upload this information directly into existing or modified databases,” said Kevin Miner, program manager at the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, which oversees Benét. “The goal is to automate counting of ammo fired and to provide increased operational and maintenance capabilities through automation.”
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