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New Eyes for Gators

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As someone whos spent a lot of time in the hull of an amtrac, I absolutely love this one.

Defense Industry Daily reports the Corps has signed a contract with L3 Communications to install thermal sights on their amtrac fleet. The article touts the thermal sights capability over the current light intensification scope.

And if youve ever looked through an amtrac sight, youd agree its about as first-gen as it gets.

The Marine Corps has taken some serious hits in its pursuit of a replacement for the old-school AAV7 Amphibious Assault Vehicle fleet. All you need to see is a row of these medieval behemoths lumbering through the desert hundreds of miles from the sea and you cant help but agree that the Corps needs to find an alternative.

The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is close, but its cost and complexity have hampered development and put its future in doubt. So the Marines have resorted to continuously upgrading today's amtrac, slapping on new suspensions and applique armor.

The funny thing about this development is that the thermal sight will probably do little good for the amtrackers other than help them see better at night. Though the EFV admittedly has a high-tech thermal sight, the vehicle also has a 30 mm Bushmaster cannon tethered to a computerized weapons system. On the flip side, the amtrac sports a .50 cal machine gun and a Mark 19 grenade launcher. Great weapons, but a little outclassed by such a sophisticated thermal capability.

I dont know too many gator drivers who speak very highly of its weapon systems, and putting an expensive - and potentially glitch-prone - thermal sight on it seems a little over the top.

-- Christian

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