Unmanned Sniper Copters
Common elements in recent encounters with Somali pirates have been helicopters, sharpshooters and the use of drones. To whatever degree it could be operationally successful, it is intriguing that the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System (ARSS) is being tested by the Army and combines all three. Although the So, it is being suggested that the ARSS is being developed for urban environments, some thought is now being given to deploying such drones to combat piracy. Apparently the ARSS is capable of precision targeting and actually combines UAV technology with adapted Xbox 360 video game controllers.
Sniping from a chopper currently takes tons of skill and training. But ARSS is literally point-and-shoot for the operator on the ground, using a videogame-type controller. The software makes all the necessary corrections, and the system should ensure first-round kills at several hundred yards. The secret is in the control system and stabilized turret.
Of course, precision targeting and shooting from a moving, let alone airborne platform is difficult at best. However, the Coast Guard has been using its Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) to shoot out the motors of vessels that refuse to stop when they are suspected to be smuggling contraband (illegal drugs mostly).
Imagine that. Drone helicopters being used over open waters to stop Somali piracy. Its far from being farfetched.