Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

December 29, 2009 -

While an iPhone may not necessarily be the first thing you think of when asked what is need for our soldiers overseas, it turns out that a simple app that costs around $20 is being used quite extensively in Afghanistan.

We knew that soldiers already use modified Xbox 360 controllers to fly unmanned robotic vehicles, but a story in the Mirror details how snipers are using an app called BulletFlight, which takes into account wind and the rotation of the Earth and its affect on the path of a bullet to its target.

The story also talks about PS3 technology being used in supercomputers and radar.

According to Stuart McDougall of BAE Systems, which is developing 3D graphics technology from the PS2 to power the next wave of military engineering designs:

"Historically the military have invested in developing technology to meet their specific requirements. This technology has then filtered down to everyone else. But, increasingly, modern consumer gadgets are so powerful and so highly competitive that they're often ahead of the game - and much cheaper to buy in and adapt."

BulletFlight is available for download by anyone.

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Comments

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

Heh, I always thought it was neat how military tech eventually winds up with civilian uses, and it's equally neat to see the reverse happen.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

You should watch the HIstory channel & R. Lee Ermy (Full Metal Jacket) talking about weapons, & future weapons & the past weapons used. Watch Future Weapons I think on Discovery, not sure. & watch the military channel. Pretty badass stuff.

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

It's really sad that something that used to be taught to soldiers is now done by an iPhone app.  What's even worse though?  What happens to these 'snipers' when their iPhone ceases to function?
They're barely real 'snipers' anyway.  A real sniper should be able to calculate for these things on the fly, like the great snipers of the past.  There are many things that technology can be useful for on the battle field.  This is not one of them.  If a sniper can't figure out how to adjust for different elevation and different wind conditions, they have no place behind a sniper rifle.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

A real sniper has a scout to aid him w/distance & wind direction & pressure. That is a real scout/sniper. Since I come from a military family & hear all the jargon from my brother & my uncle casey who is gungho about everything military & my fiance who was a marine recon unit leader for his team.......I can safely say that him & his team used no means of any kind of technology for scout/snipers. Now if you want to look up the scopes these people use, I suggest you go to www.military.com then go to shop. You will generation scopes that are pretty badass but costly. & a real sniper has to score on his marksmanship test as a shaprshooter or higher. At most a 40.

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

The scopes are nearly all Leupold, Schmidt and Bender, Unertl 10x fixed magnification, Nightforce, or, RARELY, US Optics. 

You don't need military.com to tell you that.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

You ALWAYS have a member of your family that is relevant to the discussion. Whatever the discussion. How awfully convenient.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

current snipers use 50-cal rifles that have conservative ranges in the 1 mile mark. An accurate calculation "on the fly" for that range hasn't been done in years. Before the app, the sniper teams used specialty computers for the same purpose and before that, pencil and paper. The last unassisted sniper shot that was accurate was maybe a third of a mile, some 15-20 years ago, if not longer.

The app does not hold their hand in making the shot, it simply makes the super long range shots easier to pull off at a quicker rate. Now if you have a squad that can be saved by a well placed and well timed shot, you are not going to give a damn about how some armchair gung-ho patriot is saying you have no right to be there because you use what's available. These people have more important things to think about than how they would fare in someone's imaginary competition.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

How about everyone watch the movie "The Shooter".

 

 

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

"It's better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." - Montgomery Gentry

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

Are you kidding? 

To begin with, most of what you said here is absolute bullshit.  Current snipers use rifles chambered in 300 winchester magnum, 7.62 Nato, 5.56, .338 lapua, and .50 BMG.  The rifles are everything from Mk-12s and rebuilt M14's to Barret's large caliber series.  The fifty-cal sniper rifles are not the only rifle on the battlefield, and your belief that such is the case is simply moronic and indicates that your knowledge on the topic comes from either A) Video Games or B) Television shows.

Shots are made, unassisted, with all these rifle calibers, between 200 and 2000 meters on a monthly basis in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Just because YOU can't conceive of it being possible, doesn't make such the case. 

An accurate calculation on the fly for a zeroed rifle of any caliber is a simple thing to do, assuming you know what you're doing.  You know those knobs on a rifle scope?  The one that says 'windage' and the other that says 'elevation'?  Yeah.  That's how you adjust, assuming you don't have a Mil-Spec reticle.  If you have a mil spec reticle, you adjust for windage and then highlight the target with the correct dot or hash-mark on the scope.  That can be done by one individual.  After the first shot, any finer adjustments are suggested by the spotter, who watches the bullet's flight path from the barrel to the termination of its flight. 

Before this (cr)app, snipers didn't use the 'specialty computer' you're talking about.  A few used it, but the majority used memorization and notebooks, as has always been done.  The computer you're talking about attaches to a Leupold scope and actually turns those windage and elevation knobs FOR the shooter, and they were crap for the same reason, to say nothing of the added weight and bulk they brought to an already large rife.  Those computers were ONLY made for use with the 50 BMG rounds, although they attempted to make them to use with .338 Lapua rifles, where they were widely rejected for their weight and inconvenience. 

For my convenience, I'll tear apart the 2nd paragraph of your stupidity point by point.

The app does not hold their hand in making the shot, it simply makes the super long range shots easier to pull off at a quicker rate.

To begin with, 'super long range shots' once again shows your lack of understanding of the sniper's purpose.  Here's a hint: They're there to make those 'super long range shots'.  They shouldn't need to waste time plugging data into an iPhone; they should be able to take that same data and process it themselves, adjust their windage and elevation accordingly, and use their mil-spec reticle correctly.  When you add an extra step to the whole thing, you add extra time that could've been avoided if these 'snipers' were well trained and able to calculate these things in their head, as snipers have been doing since WWII.  It doesn't allow the shots to be pulled off at a quicker rate; it actually slows the speed of shots.

Now if you have a squad that can be saved by a well placed and well timed shot, you are not going to give a damn about how some armchair gung-ho patriot is saying you have no right to be there because you use what's available.

How about when that iPhone battery runs dry, and the sniper can't remember how to do the math in their head because they've spent so long relying on a computer to do the work that snipers should be doing in their head?  How useful is that individual who has used that iPhone like a crutch when they don't have use of it, and all the sudden their shots are off by 5, 6 MOA because they can't remember how to adjust for that windage and elevation?  All the sudden, you're not an asset; you're a burden, a useless individual wasting a useful $5000 dollar rifle.

These people have more important things to think about than how they would fare in someone's imaginary competition.

Maybe they should worry about how they would fare in the real world without their iPhone crutch?  Snipers from WWII to the current wars have always used their own head and an understanding of the ballistics of their particular bullet.  Those are the snipers we need, not snipers who need a machine to tell them how to adjust for a shot. 

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

The fact still remains, that you're still several thousand miles away from any combat use of this app and still only ranting and wildly speculating about what may or may not happen when the iPhone fails and what skills the actual snipers that actually use the app may or may not possess. And that's ignoring, that your whole rant is based on the idiotic assumption, that the only reason to use tools is not knowing how to do anything without them.

"Tear apart" all you want, you're still some guy in front of his computer telling the actual snipers that are actually in the field that they have no idea, what they're doing. Pretty much the definition of an armchair "expert".

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

Why do I have a feeling someone made a very similar rant when the calculator was invented?

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Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

The only difference is that if you use a calculator to count, it doesn't really risk anyone's life when you have to count on your fingers.  If you're using an iPhone or iPod touch to tell you how to shoot, you risk dulling the skill that all marksmen and snipers should have, which means when that iPhone fails, you're less useful, and risk not recalling how to adjust for shots.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

Last I heard they are still taught the calculations. But the military has always used whatever technology they can to make their men more effective. From the story it seems the app could be a back up spotter. I mean it's not like the spotter doesn't use laser range finders already.

 

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

I have a feeling you don't know what a spotter actually does, or how they do it.  A spotter needs to be able to watch, through a spotting scope, the path of the bullet fired by the sniper, and often they need to give feedback to the sniper as to what adjustments need be made for windage and elevation.  Unless the iPhone also has an app that allows it to view things up to 1000 meters away with that same clarity, its not a 'back up spotter'.

 

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

From the tone of the multiple stories I've read about this, that is EXACTLY what it does.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

It's called typing too fast. Pete and I usually backcheck each other. he's on vacation.

Fixed and mea culpa.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

The rest of the world uses spellchecks.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

...when asked what is needd for our soldiers...

...soldiers alreasy use...

...of the Earth and its affact on the...

 

Did gamepolitics get its budget cut?

Re: Snipers Use iPhone App to Target Terrorists

I think they are adopting EAs strategy of "Rush it out the door and maybe fix it later"

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.
 
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