Rifle sighting system scores a bull's-eye
ORNL lead team develops fiber-optic laser-based sensor system that automatically corrects for even tiny barrel disruptions
Military and police marksmen could see their rifle sights move into the 21st century with a fiber-optic laser-based sensor system that automatically corrects for even tiny barrel disruptions.
The system, developed by a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Slobodan Rajic, precisely measures the deflection of the barrel relative to the sight and then electronically makes the necessary corrections. The lifesaving results are lethal.
"For military snipers, missing the target could allow high-profile terrorists to escape," said Rajic, a member of ORNL's Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division. "For police marksmen, missing the kidnapper could endanger the lives of hostages and then pose subsequent danger to police officers and the public."
The Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor takes the guesswork out of shooting by shifting the burden of knowing the relative position between the barrel and the weapon sight axes from the shooter to an electronic sensor. The system precisely measures the deflection of the barrel relative to the sight and then electronically realigns the moving reticle, or crosshairs, with the true position of the barrel, or bore axis.
In the end, the resolution of ORNL's Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor is 250 times better than that of traditional reticles, which can normally be manually adjusted by one-fourth of a minute of angle. The ORNL sensor can sense angular displacement and shift the reticle by 1/1,000th of a minute of angle, Rajic said.
Rajic and colleagues are also developing a laser-based bullet tracking system to give the shooter even better odds of succeeding by providing specific information about the bullet flight path.—Ron Walli