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Australia's NIOA tests ‘smart rail system'

Australian company NIOA announced on 14 March that it is trialling a new “smart rail system”.

According to a company press release, the rail system “transforms rifles into real-time data nodes, linking soldiers in the battlefield with tactical leaders and commanders”. NIOA said it has tied up with the US-based T-Worx to “investigate the application of its Intelligent-Rail (I-Rail) technology for use in the Australian Defence Force (ADF)”.

NIOA said T-Worx developed the I-Rail system with funding and guidance from the US Army. The I-Rail was selected by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for its NATO-powered Rail STANAG 4740/AEP-90 requirement (a NATO specification for standardised Picatinny rail system) and it is already integrated with the M4 family of weapons.

NIOA also said the I-Rail system will provide the operator with an integrated platform with a single source of power and connectivity between “weapon ancillaries”, including sensors. The rail system captures information from sensors on the weapon to create a “data package” that can include ammunition usage, location logistics, video, and radio communications.

Rudi Bekker, NIOA general manager for engineering, said in the press release that the company's design team was progressing with comprehensive trials and demonstration programmes for the ADF, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), and law enforcement clients.

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