Australian Army tests real-time rifle-shot accuracy tracking system

Australia’s Ministry of Defense is stepping up efforts to enhance the precision and accuracy of its army personnel. Currently, soldiers from the 7th Brigade of the Australian Defense Force [ADF] are undergoing training with the MantisX system, which will continue for a minimum of four weeks, according to the ministry. While the MantisX hasn’t yet been officially adopted, these trials are crucial in determining its suitability for the Australian military. 

Australian Army tests real-time rifle-shot accuracy tracking system
Photo by Corporal Michael Rogers

The MantisX system is versatile and capable of being mounted on pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Its primary function is to monitor and enhance the accuracy of the firearm and the shooter by collecting real-time data with each shot. 

Here’s how it works: A sensor attaches to the weapon and integrates with the MantisX. This sensor tracks the movement of the barrel, the pressure and pull on the trigger, and the overall stability of the weapon in real time. It then provides a score and barrel vector for each shot, similar to a sophisticated weapon training simulation system.

One moment

MantisX boasts an impressive feature: it captures movements during shooting. Remarkably, the shooting speed is quite high—clocking in at 150 frames per second. This allows the system to reveal the precise actions of the soldier’s body at each moment and how they change during firing. Additionally, the images clearly display what happens to the weapon used during firing. 

The current tests on MantisX involve dry firing. This distinction is crucial, according to the Australian Army’s military department. Once these tests and training sessions are complete, the soldiers involved will undergo further evaluations. This time, they’ll be tested at a live shooting range to determine how much their precision shooting skills have improved.

Australian Army tests real-time rifle-shot accuracy tracking system
Photo credit: Australian MoD

Every voice heard

The journey of the MantisX making its way to Australian dry-firing test ranges is a compelling tale. Back in 2016, Australian Warrant Officer Second Class Mark Biviano, from the Faculty of Land Warfare, took it upon himself to purchase this system to enhance his training and accuracy during firing exercises. 

After getting his hands on the device, Biviano quickly recognized its tremendous potential. Consequently, he introduced the system and, by 2019, gained permission to conduct a test trial within the 13th Brigade. Reflecting on this period, he noted that the shared network of data and feedback greatly resonated with the test group, yielding impressive results. 

He observed that users significantly improved their marksmanship, reaching high levels of accuracy in a remarkably short time. Inspired by these outcomes, Biviano proposed the idea to Gemma Coleman of the Defence Science and Technology Group [DSTG]. Both concluded that MantisX held substantial promise, leading to its current phase of four weeks of intensive training and system testing.

Financing

The LAND 159 Weapons Replacement Program is backing this trial to explore how dry-shooting training can cut costs and conserve resources typically used in range shooting, while still enhancing skills. The study will also delve into how soldiers process and react to information during room clearance exercises, a concept known as the “perception-action link.” 

The LAND 159 Weapons Replacement Program is an initiative by the Australian Ministry of Defence aimed at modernizing and enhancing the small arms capabilities of the Australian Defence Force [ADF]. This comprehensive program seeks to replace and upgrade the current suite of small arms, including pistols, rifles, machine guns, and other related equipment, to ensure that the ADF remains equipped with the most advanced and effective weaponry available.

About LAND 159

The program is divided into multiple phases, each focusing on different categories of small arms. The first phase, known as Tranche 1, primarily addresses the replacement of the ADF’s service pistols, shotguns, and sniper systems. Subsequent phases will tackle other weapon systems, ensuring a systematic and thorough overhaul of the ADF’s small arms inventory. 

One of the key objectives of the LAND 159 program is to enhance the lethality, reliability, and ergonomics of the weapons used by Australian soldiers. This involves not only selecting new firearms but also integrating advanced optics, targeting systems, and other accessories that can improve overall combat effectiveness. The program emphasizes the importance of modularity and adaptability, allowing the ADF to tailor their weapon systems to specific mission requirements. 

The selection process for new weapons under the LAND 159 program involves rigorous testing and evaluation. The Australian Ministry of Defence collaborates with industry partners and subject matter experts to assess various weapon systems from different manufacturers. This ensures that the chosen weapons meet the stringent standards and operational needs of the ADF. The program also considers factors such as ease of maintenance, logistical support, and cost-effectiveness.

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