The U.S. Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group has worked out a way to calibrate a standard-issue, infrared illuminator/laser aiming device to help combat troops effectively track and shoot sprinting enemy forces at night more effectively than ever before.
Military.com ran a story today that looks at the AWG's effort to develop a training designed to help soldiers, Marines and Special Operations Forces become more efficient at engaging moving targets, both in the day and at night.
Part of the effort involves a new style of robotic targets, made by the Australian-based firm, Marathon Targets. The four-wheeled targets are topped with life-like mannequins and move at speeds of more than eight miles per hour. They can be programmed to change directions quickly and move for cover like many of the enemy seen in Afghanistan.
Look, soldiers and Marines can shoot; there is no denying that. The U.S. Military's marksmanship training programs are among the most effective in the world. The problem is the military still has no live-fire ranges that can truly replicate how today's enemy sprints, ducks and ziz-zags for cover on the battlefield.
These targets provide a very realistic training tool, but they are only part of the solution. AWG members are trying to refine and upgrade the training and tactics shooters will need to comfortably get first-round hits against these fast-moving foes.
AWG members now have a working solution for using an M4-mounted illuminator and laser pointer to effectively estimate range to the target and allow the shooter to use the laser aiming dot to properly lead a moving target through night-vision goggles, a source familiar with the effort said.There may be experienced shooters in the military that have already come up with a similar technique. But currently there is no such technique in any of the Army's approved marksmanship manuals.
The trick is to calibrate the minutes of angle, or MOA, on the illuminator so that a man-size target, that is approximately 6 feet tall, will fill the flood light circle at a range of 100 meters. The other part involves moving the illuminator beam over so that the laser dot is in the center of the illuminator beam. This way the zero on the laser remains undisturbed.
This setup is designed to replicate the sight picture a soldier sees when using a daylight optic such as an M68 Close Combat Optic.
So far this is just a concept, but it's generating a lot of buzz in the both the conventional and Special Operations marksmanship training communities.
Check out my story here.