NIOA trials rifle sensor-fusion technology


A ‘smart rail system’ that transforms rifles into data nodes linking soldiers in the battlefield with tactical leaders and commanders, is being trialled by NIOA.

The Brisbane prime defence contractor has linked with technology and licensing company T-Worx to investigate application of its Intelligent-Rail (I-Rail) technology for use in the Australian Defence Force.

The rifle-mounted I-Rail powers all rail-mounted optics, enablers and sensors from a central battery pack located on the weapon.

It captures information from sensors on the weapon to create a data package which can include video, radio communication, ammunition usage and location information.

T-Worx developed the I-Rail under US Army SBIR funding, and it was selected by NATO as the basis for a NATO small arms system.

The system is already fully integrated within the Colt M4 family of weapons – Colt provides NIOA with the Colt M4 as the primary weapons system for Australian special operations units.

NIOA general manager for engineering Rudi Bekker said the company’s weapons design team was progressing with a comprehensive trials and demonstration program for the ADF as well as the New Zealand Defence Force and law enforcement clients.

Bekker said: “T-Worx are a truly innovative partner to NIOA.

“They understand the need for Australian sovereignty and are proactively progressing technology transfer and upskilling of the T-Worx technology suite to NIOA’s weapons design team.”

NIOA CEO Robert Nioa said the company would work with T-Worx in supporting the modernisation efforts of the ADF.

Nioa said: “The battlespace is becoming more and more data-driven.

“These systems allow faster decision making for our men and women on the frontline which boosts situational awareness and ultimately their safety.”

NIOA is bidding for the next tranche of the LAND 159 Lethality Systems Program which includes a close combatant family of weapons, machine guns, direct fire support weapons and grenades.

The company recently completed Stage 1 of Tranche 1, encompassing test, evaluation, data analysis and source evaluation recommendations for the latest sniper and close combat weapon systems.

Picture: The weapon-mounted T-Worx Intelligent-Rail system is being trialled by NIOA. Photo courtesy Angie DuPuydt/US Army

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