Army developing new sensors and lasers for infantry troops.

Author:Sloane, Michael

* Darkness has fallen. The fog drifts toward a soldier's position. Smoke from nearby fires blends with the fog. The pall shrouds the soldier and his squad as they move carefully through enemy territory.

The soldier knows the enemy is approaching through the fields despite the dense and obscuring haze that makes it hard to see. He turns on his family of weapon sights. The reticle appears instantly in his enhanced night vision goggle. Without bringing the weapon to his shoulder, he sees the outline of enemy combatants appear through the mist and darkness. Thermal signatures reveal enemy personnel no more than 100 meters away. The soldier acquires, engages and destroys the targets.

The squad maneuvers down a dirt road through a hostile urban environment. Approximately 1,500 meters ahead, soldiers see a church on the left and a mosque on the right. The "joint terminal attack controller," or JTAC, takes the "joint effects targeting system," or JETS, from his rucksack. He quickly identifies six enemy combatants placing improvised explosive devices. He sees the enemy carry weapons between the two buildings. He lazes the target and identifies the combatants' exact coordinates. The JTAC wirelessly calls for a strike. Within moments, a flash and a deafening boom announce the delivery of a precision round. The attack eliminates the threat without damaging the houses of worship.

The family of weapon sights and JETS are two programs that will change the way soldiers fight.

The FWS program includes three variants that combine advanced thermal weapon-sight technology. The individual variant mounts to the M4, M16, M249 squad automatic weapon, and to the Ml 36 AT4, and M141 bunker defeat munitions. The crew-served variant is for the M240, M2, and MK19 weapons. The sniper variant is compatible with the M24, M110, M107, and the precision sniper rifle.

FWS clips in front of the optic soldiers currently use. It provides visibility in low light, and obscured and adverse weather conditions without removal of the day optic. This gives soldiers aim-point accuracy without the need to re-zero. All three variants also operate in stand-alone mode without the day optic.

The FWS individual variant has a wireless rapid target acquisition capability to provide a zeroed weapon aim-point in the soldier's enhanced night-vision goggle, or ENVG. Soldiers can fire quickly and accurately from almost any carry position and with significantly reduced exposure to enemy fire. This...

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