Beretta’s Powered Rail System is based on PPI’s design but has undergone considerable development. The company plans to implement the system as part of the ARX weapon system. The rail is Picatinny compliant. The electronics consists of two isolated busses one to deliver power and the other acts as a data buss. One controller is included to provide a single control point for the accessories. With nothing connected to the rail system, there is no current flow so immersion in water and other conductive material will not discharge or short out the battery pack. This is an important feature for operator and equipment safety.
Once the accessory is installed, two pressure switches located at the base of the accessory complete the circuit and the accessory will draw power and have access to the data buss. Electrically, the attached devices are not daisy chained, so failure of one device does not break the circuit shutting all devices down. Each accessory forms it’s own circuit.
Once development is complete, NATO will see it first as an integral component of the ARX carbine weapon system. In the production version, the battery pack is incorporated in the butt stock. The entire system is powered by 6 AA batteries, which is a huge plus. Currently, the Army has been looking at other systems that sit on the M4’s existing rail system, but both Beretta and I agree that stacking rails on top of rails is not the optimal approach.
The inclusion of a data buss means that video, targeting information and other accessory specific data streams can be readily interfaced with existing communications equipment providing a two-way digital data stream.
I was extremely impressed with the design; everything about it makes complete sense. With its acquisition of Laser Devices Inc. Beretta is uniquely positioned to supply turn-key solutions to its NATO customers and is in the enviable position of having complete control over its supply line. I’m looking forward to a live demonstration.