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NIGHT VISION, MUNITIONS AND BALLISTICS UPDATE

30 Apr 13. After getting off to a rocky start, the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) path-breaking wide-area surveillance sensor, known as Gorgon Stare, is performing with at least a 90% availability rate in Afghanistan and has been well-received by commanders in the field. The update comes more than two years after a leaked Department of Defense (DoD) report blasting the sensor, which is intended to provide ‘city-size’ images taken twice per second, as well as ‘chip-out’ images of specific targets within that city. The report, leaked to the media in January 2011, said the sensor, made by Sierra Nevada Corporation, received a poor operational assessment from testers at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. By mid-2011, however, Randall Walden, director for USAF Information Dominance programmes, told IHS Jane’s that the USAF had fixed the issues identified in testing, although he did not provide details. (Source: Jane’s)

26 Apr 13. A 3D-printed gun capable of firing multiple rounds may be
unveiled soon. Cody Wilson, the 25-year-old founder and director of nonprofit organization Defense Distributed, recently told Mashable that the end product of Wiki Weapon, the initiative to create an operational 3D-printed gun, may soon be ready to unveil to the public. In a March interview with CNN, Wilson said he hoped to have a printable gun ready by the end of April, so his most recent comments suggest that he may fulfill that promise. While Wilson was sparse with details, he did tell Mashable that the prototype would be a handgun consisting of 12 parts made out of ABS+ thermoplastic, which is known for its durability and is commonly used in industrial settings. The firing pin would be the only steel component of the 3D-printed gun, which will be able to withstand a few shots before melting or breaking. Wilson reportedly anticipates making an official announcement soon. (Source: Slashdot.com)

30 Apr 13. Safe Gun Technology (SGTi) is hoping it can begin production on its version of a smart gun within the next two months. The Columbus, Ga.-based company uses relatively simple fingerprint recognition through a flat, infrared reader positioned on the weapon’s grip. The biometrics reader enables three other physical mechanisms that control the trigger, the firing pin and the gun hammer. The controller chip can save from 15,000 to 20,000 fingerprints. If a large military unit wanted to program thousands of finger prints into a single weapon, it would be possible. A single gun owner could also temporarily program a friend or family member’s print into the gun to go target shooting and then remove it upon returning home. (Source: Slashdot.com)

29 Apr 13. A division of L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. has developed a small infrared camera for drones, sniper rifles and ground vehicles. L-3 Cincinnati Electronics, part of New York-based L-3, said its NightWarrior 640 is among the smallest, high-resolution, mid-wave infrared cooled cameras. About the size of a baseball, the device weighs less than a pound and offers far more imaging power than its predecessor, officials said. The company unveiled the camera in a news release on April 29 to coincide with the start of a conference in Baltimore, Md., organized by the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. Officials want to get word out about a new technology that they said is cheaper and more advanced than existing designs, and thus well-suited for an era of declining defense budgets. (Source: Open Source Information Report)

29 Apr 13. UTC Aerospace Systems, released its next generation Sensors Unlimited high resolution, snapshot shortwave infrared (SWIR) camera at the SPIE Defense Security & Sensing Exhibition, April 29 – May 2, 2013, at the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md. UTC Aerospace Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp.. On display at booth 1217, this high sensitivity, mil-rugged Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) SWIR camera is the highest resolution VGA SWIR camera

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