Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM...gotta love those acronyms) is looking for a thermal weapons sight that can attach via rail system and also transition to a hand held unit. The system if focused on the infantry squad. There haven't officially requested proposals but should be officially requesting around the first of the year. I'll keep you posted on any new info.
For those of you that don't know, MARCORSYSCOM provides the USMC with pretty much everything related to vehicles, guns and uniforms.
There are some great things out there with Thermal but in my opinion the true solution is in a fusion of infrared, thermal and electro optical. The best of of capabilities rolled into one weapons sight.
The sight is also supposed to mate-up to the AN/PVQ optic by Trijicon. I'm personally not a big fan of the Trijicon sight because of the limited sight picture. I used one in Afghanistan on my M-4 but had trouble with the field of view being too limited when engaging enemy past 200 yards. Ended up dropping a few thousand pound JDAM's on their heads instead! I think you either go with a Red Dot sight for close engagements or get a proper scope for (Red Dot attached) targets out at distance. My main point here is that the small viewing hole of the PVQ will make it hard to pick up your target in order to get a good site picture. Why not make the Thermal Site complete with a Red Dot? Although target ID and Rules of Engagement become an issue here.....
It looks like they've set aside $80,000,000 for the effort and my guess is that FLIR and Raytheon and maybe Torrey Pines Logic will throw in (they make crazy stuff for SOCOM) will be front runners since they have a long track record in this domain. Requirements are below, let us know what you think. -Brandon
- Provide a Squad Thermal System (STS). The objective of the STS is to provide a Non-Developmental Item (NDI) device
- The STS shall be both: A weapon-mounted clip-on thermal sight that can be used in conjunction with the AN/PVQ-31A/B Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) and a lightweight, handheld thermal imager