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Marine Corps Warfighting Lab Experimenting With Robotic Targets
Three years ago, we wrote about the potential of robotic technologies to help improve shooting skills and such technology already exists with Marathon Robotics, the Australian company which supplies "Smart Targets". Robots take the place of static targets as they can move around, allowing for shooters to practice their skills at shooting moving targets, which if faced with a living target, would always be moving rather than sitting or standing still just waiting to be killed.
The US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratoryâ€™s Experiment Division have taken the Smart Targets to experiment on developing techniques to engage moving targets using the M4 and M27 IAR. All the Marines involved in the experiment test shooting at the moving targets in various shooting positions. This way, they'll be able to establish more effective ways at shooting targets, making the Marines more lethal, and perhaps even more economical as they will make bullets fired count.
According to those involved in the project, current rifle qualifications are unrealistic at evaluating shooting at moving targets as only few rounds are fired at moving targets. They see increasing shooting at moving targets to improve shooting techniques.
For those still unfamiliar with Marathon's Smart Targets. These are life-sized robots with threaded wells so they can move in various terrains and improve their stability when moving which they also move at a human pace. When shot, they fall over, mimicking a hit target.
It makes it even more difficult for those in marksmanship training to shoot at moving targets as they can shift directions and speed unlike static targets or targets that move laterally. But eventually, they'll be able to develop even more effective techniques, which they can document for future trainees to follow.
We'll be seeing more of the Marathon Smart Targets. Even in airsoft or private tactical training sessions for civilians, we these as good training tools. For airsoft, the targets can act as OPFOR in airsoft competitions though we don't know if these robots can be calibrated to react properly to .20g BBs.