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Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System

The Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System (ARSS) was an experimental robotic weapons system that was in development by the U.S. Army since 2005,[1] but no information about the status of the system has been made public since 2010.

The ARSS consisted of a remotely operated sniper rifle attached to an unmanned autonomous helicopter.[2] It was intended for use in urban combat or for several other missions requiring snipers.[3] Flight tests were scheduled to begin in Summer 2009.[1]

The rifle, a semiautomatic RND Manufacturing Edge 2000 firing the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge, was mounted on a stabilized platform, which was attached to the underside of a Vigilante 502 UAV.[2] The helicopter was to be flown by an autopilot while a human controller aims and fires the rifle, which may fire up to ten well-aimed shots per minute.[2] The rifle platform, called the Precision Weapons Platform (PWP), was designed by Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory and was equipped with a situational awareness camera and a two-level zoom scope.[4]

The system as a whole was being developed under the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate in the course of its Aerial Delivery of Effects from Lightweight Aircraft (ADELA) program.[4][5] It used much commercial off–the–shelf hardware to reduce cost and development time. For instance, the system was controlled using a Xbox 360 video game controller.[2]

Other weapons considered for use with the ARSS included the M249 or M240 machine guns, the AA-12 shotgun or non-lethal weapons. The ARSS hardware could also be installed on fixed-wing UAVs or ground combat robots.[2] The Lockheed Martin One Shot sniper system was being considered for addition to ARSS.[6]


  1. ^ a b Page, Lewis (21 April 2009). "Flying-rifle robocopter: Hovering sniper backup for US troops". The Register. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hambling, David (May 2009). "UAV Helicopter Brings Finesse to Airstrikes". Popular Mechanics. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  3. ^ Hambling, David (April 21, 2009). "Army Tests Flying Robo-Sniper". Wired, "Danger Room" blog. Archived from the original on 23 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  4. ^ a b "ARSS - Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System". Space Dynamics Laboratory. Archived from the original on 19 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  5. ^ "U.S. Army Tests Flying Robot Sniper". Fox News. 2009-04-22. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  6. ^ McHale, John. Laser-based sniper system ordered by DARPA from Lockheed Martin Military AeroSpace 18 December 2010. Accessed: 19 February 2011.

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