02 Oct 16. AUSA 2016: Raytheon introduces a new digital rifle sight. Key Points:
• DFCS uses a laser range finder, ballistic computation, and disturbed reticle to engage targets
• DFCS is equipped with a digital micro-display and a ballistic computation engine
Raytheon is introducing a new digital optic sight that will help soldiers control their individual fires and make them more effective.
The Specter Digital Fire Control System (DFCS) is the latest addition to the company’s ELCAN line of rifle sights.
“Fire control traditionally would be referring to indirect fire from any platform such as tanks or naval gun fire. While the term is still applicable, it is now being used in the world of small arms,” Dan Pettry, rifle sight product manager for Raytheon ELCAN optical technologies, said during a briefing on 29 September.
26 Sep 16. AUSA 2016: MUTT family grows. General Dynamic Land Systems has expanded its range of load-carrying ground robots – known as the multipurpose unmanned tactical transport (MUTT) – to include heavier 6×6 and 8×8 variants.
The new vehicles join the existing 4×4 MUTT product, which is a small ground robot that was developed in 2013 and designed to lighten the load of an infantry squad by carrying around 600lb of equipment and weaponry.
The payload capacity for the new vehicles has increased to 900lb for the 6×6 MUTT and upwards of 1,200lb for the 8×8. Both can be fitted with standard wheels or have a band track fitted to enhance mobility.
All the variants are electric-driven, with an auxiliary power unit that can charge the batteries when required.
According to Dan Rodgers, a programme manager at GDLS, all the variants have the same mode of operation. This can be simple remote control or a ‘leash’, known as the dismounted following tether (DFT), which is attached to the soldier’s load-bearing equipment.
‘[With the DFT] it doesn’t matter what RF environment is out there, it’s just like a leash,’ Rodgers said. ‘It’s intuitive and does exactly what you want, when you want, and it doesn’t run out of batteries.’
In a bid to reduce complexity and a steep price point, the current generation of MUTT robots do not feature semi- or fully-autonomous features. That means expensive equipment such as electro-optics, LIDAR and radar, as well as powerful processing units required for autonomy, have been stripped away.
‘That’s in the roadmap but there are a lot of other issues that have to be overcome, especially if you talk about weaponised MUTTS,’ said Rodgers.
This summer, both the US Army and US Marine Corps tested the MUTT as part of separate capability trials. The US Army trialled the ground robots as part of the Pacific Manned-Unmanned Initiative (PACMAN-I), held in Hawaii for two weeks during July.
During PACMAN-I, the US Army primarily tested two concepts with MUTT, lightening the load by carrying equipment, and an armed robotic capability.
Stephen Rash, a GDLS expert who is embedded with soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia, and who travels to locations throughout the US for military exercises, told Shephard that a total of three MUTT systems were used during PACMAN-I, with one being utilised by a 60mm mortar team.
‘They basically configured the MUTT to be a mobile fire position for the mortar,’ said Rash, adding that by using the MUTT, the mortar team was able to significantly reduce set up time.
The other two MUTT systems were armed, utilising lightweight weapon stations including one example with a M2 .50 calibre gun. To be able to utilise heavy weapon systems as part of a light infantry unit is seen as something of a battlefield revolution, allowing a squad to unleash much more firepower and lethality than was ever previously possible.
‘It allows a single person to get a .50 cal downrange with thousands of rounds of ammunition with them, and that’s a game changer,’ said Rodgers. ‘It normally takes five people to carry the weapon, ammo and tripod to deploy it.
The US Army has indicated