Army Looks For Miracle Optic


Yesterday this bit of news made the rounds. When I read it the first thing I thought about was some comments from Kirk a few weeks ago. Kirk talked about advanced targeting systems in the article about the Army’s new marksmanship program so this seemed like good timing.

File:5th 09.jpg

Army infantry officials at Fort Benning, Georgia, are testing a handful of advanced fire control optics in an effort to one day help non-combat arms soldiers shoot more accurately against close-quarter and long-range enemy targets.”

The effort is part of the Army Expeditionary Warfighting Experiments (AEWE) 2020 and will involve soldiers live-firing M4A1 carbines with fire control systems from three companies to see whether they can improve a shooter’s probability of hitting targets faster than current Army-issue optics.

When I read this, I can’t help but think that it means the Army thinks think this is a way to skip marksmanship training for the rear echelon.

Currently, the service uses the M68 Close Combat Optic (CCO) and the M150 rifle Combat Optic (RCO). The CCO is an unmagnified, red dot sight designed for ranges out to 300 meters. The RCO has a 4X magnification for engagements out to 600 meters.

One of the Army’s modernization priorities is to develop a Next Generation Squad Weapon that will replace the M4A1 and M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units. Both weapons will be equipped with a fire control system that will calculate range to target and compensate with environmental conditions, such as wind, that can affect accuracy, service officials say.”

The Army also announced in August that it’s evaluating optics from seven vendors competing for the Direct View Optic (DVO) effort, a variable-power optic that will feature magnification settings from 1X to 6X compared to the 4X on the RCO.

Army officials at the Maneuver Battle Lab hope that commercial fire control systems being evaluated during the AEWE will help guide a future requirement for an advanced system to go to soldiers outside of combat-arms units.

“Everybody has got a weapon and everybody is required to hit targets, and anything we can do to make those populations better … maybe we don’t give them the latest and greatest, but we do want to give them capability,” said Lt. Col. Chris Kennedy, chief of the Lethality Branch within Soldier Requirements Division at Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate at Benning.”

“Sometimes, those who shoot less actually might benefit the most from some of these devices,” he added. Aaaaaand there we have it.

Read the rest of how the Army is using your tax dollars in it’s infinite wisdom below.


  1. This isn’t actually the sort of thing I was talking about… What I was alluding to was a means of networking observation and command/control such that the squad could deliver fire and integrate targeting in a coordinated manner, not try to substitute gimmickry for training and skill-at-arms…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here