The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is currently testing a body-worn weapon mount that is designed to redirect all of a weapon’s weight to the body, therefore making it easier for the soldier to carry a more lethal firearm.
Ground troops can attach the device, also known as ‘third arm’, to their protective vests, which will hold their weapon, the US Army stated.
ARL Weapons and Materials Research Directorate mechanical engineer Zac Wingard said: “We’re looking at a new way for the soldier to interface with the weapon.#
“It is not a product; it is simply a way to study how far we can push the ballistic performance of future weapons without increasing soldier burden.”
The ‘third arm’ device weighs less than four pounds and is being tested with the M4 carbine on a firing range at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, US.
As part of the testing, soldiers wear electromyography sensors on their arms and upper body to measure muscle activity to determine if there’s a change in fatigue when shooting with the device.
The army also plans to test the device with other types of weapons with different calibres, such as M249 squad automatic weapon or M240B machine gun.
The device’s potential applications for various fighting techniques such as shoot-on-the-move, close-quarters combat, or even shooting around corners with augmented reality displays, will be tested.
The ‘third arm’ may also help a soldier keep their weapon close by during a breaching operation. Additionally, a soldier might use it to carry a shield as they lead other soldiers in clearing a room.