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Marines to Field Smartphone Targeting System

The Marine Corps is working on an ultra-light, smartphone-based targeting system to help JTACs call in close-air and other fire support faster than ever.

The Target Handoff System, Version 2 relies on an android operating system, radio and GPS to keep the weight just below five pounds. The fielded Version 1 system uses a 13 pound tablet and other accessories that jack the weight up to as much as 20 pounds, according to Marine Capt. Jesse Hume, project officer for Marine Corps Systems Command.

“Currently we are looking at a [slightly] larger tablet for our fire support officer doing multiple coordination and this smaller one for the guy on the ground,” Hume said at Modern Day Marine 2015.

The new system would give Joint Terminal Attack Controllers a digital map with a red crosshairs to identify targets. After that, the JTAC sends a sends a text message to call in fire.

Marine officials are working on an upgraded software that blends U.S. Army and Navy software programs together. “Both are proven; both have been used in combat -- what we are trying to do is just to take the best pieces of software and create the full picture for the Marine Corps,” Hume said.

It still takes the same amount of time to send the text message, but “as far as correlating to figure out what is the correct target, this is much faster,” Hume said. The system will also work well for mission planning, route planning and general battlefield awareness, he said.

The Marines are hoping to field the Target Handoff System Version 2 in fiscal year 2017.

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