Shoot from the hip.

Author:Vergun, David

New night-vision equipment promises an enhanced image of the battlefield and frees Soldiers from using traditional firing positions.

The Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III, or ENVG III, is worn on a helmet in the same way earlier models were worn. The device can be wirelessly linked to the Family of Weapon Sights--Individual, or FWS-I, which can be mounted on the M4 carbine, M16A4 rifle, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, Ml36 AT4 rifle, or M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, According to Col. Michael Sloane.

Because the FWS-I wirelessly transmits a video signal of the weapon sight to the ENVG III, a soldier will be able to accurately fire his weapon without having to bring the weapon up to eye level. Soldiers will be able to point the weapon around a corner, acquire a target wirelessly though the FWS-I, and fire--all while remaining in defilade.

Other variants within the Family of Weapons Sights are being developed for sniper rifles and crew-served weapons such as the M240 and M2 machine guns, as well as the MK19 grenade launcher.

The technological compatibility between the two systems provides rapid target acquisition capabilities, allowing soldiers to much more rapidly acquire targets and clearly see them in their helmet-borne ENVG III without looking through the scope of the weapon.

Because the sight picture, from the weapon's point of view, appears in the ENVG III, the soldier gets the benefit of the 40-degree view provided by the ENVG III. This provides much greater situational awareness than the 18- to 26-degree view, which is provided by the scope of the weapon, Sloane said.

Both systems have undergone rigorous scrutiny by soldiers at a number of installations and training areas during live-fire events. Additionally, soldier feedback, called "Soldier Touch-Points," has informed every step of the design and development, Sloane said.

Sloan also said that tactics, techniques and procedures with the new system will continuously be refined by the Maneuver Center of Excellence, or MCOE, on Fort Benning, Georgia, and the Army Training and Doctrine Command on Fort Eustis, Virginia. The refinements will ensure safe and effective employment of the new capabilities.

According to Lt. Col. Timothy Fuller (who serves as the program manager for Soldier Maneuver Sensors, or PM SMS), thermal weapons sights have...

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