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MK-49 Remote Operated Small Arms Mount

A US Navy group had tried on and off for 12 years to develop a “Slew-to-Cue” device to automatically point their Remote Operated Small Arms Mount (ROSAM) to whatever target a separately located camera was pointing at. They decided to give the project to us. Starting with only one page of requirements and some general guidelines, we developed a hardware and software solution 10x more accurate than they were expecting. They required that we just get the target somewhere on the ROSAM’s display screen. Using algorithms of our own design, we got the target in the center of the crosshairs!

This solution was so successful they asked us if we could interface our device to a military radar and a Command and Control (C2) system. This would enable an operator to “see” an enemy drone coming in to attack, slew the Camera to immediately point at that radar “track” so the operator could identify it visually, then immediately slew the gun to point at the drone to shoot it down. Within 2.5 months we successfully demonstrated this new system to the Marine Corps out on a live range. In the demonstration, the system waited for the drone to be detected on the radar and then slewed the camera and the gun to point at it. When our gunner had the drone in his sights, he switched to manual mode, fired, and the drone dropped out of the sky. The entire operation took 15 seconds.

The Marine Corps wanted to put our system on their new M-ATV. This vehicle would be deployed in months, with a different gun mount and a different C2 system. We designed and build new prototypes to meet the new requirements. In six weeks, we demonstrated our preliminary system to the Commandant of the Marine Corps (General Neller).

This Slew-to-Cue system required us to:

  • Source a Linux-based single-board-computer, enclosure, connectors, cables, indicators, etc.
  • Set up a Linux-based remote development/debugging environment
  • Develop a feedback-based control system to accurately and quickly move the gun mount
  • Develop a deep understanding of trigonometric laws, identities, reductions and formulas
  • Invent algorithms to compensate for parallax errors and pitch and roll errors in azimuth, elevation and range
  • Develop Serial interfaces and TCP and UDP servers and clients to talk to many different military systems:
    • Remote operated Gun Mounts
    • Remote operated High Resolution Cameras
    • Command and Control Systems
    • Military Doppler Radar System
  • Develop a means to quickly, simply, and robustly upgrade the device in the field
  • Reconfigure the unit to use different cameras, gun mounts, C2 systems, etc. within minutes
  • Develop Windows applications to simulate a gun mount and a C2 system – needed for rapid prototyping