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Every soldier a sharpshooter

Rifle sights gain digital fire controls for more accuracy and quicker engagement

The ELCAN Specter Digital Fire Control System will allow a shooter to engage faster, with better accuracy.  (<a href="/news/rtnwcm/groups/public/documents/image/sharp_shooter_lead_img_lg.jpg" target="_blank">Download High Resolution Photo</a>)

There's little room for error on the battlefield, but Raytheon is developing next-generation digital fire controls for its ELCAN rifle sights to help soldiers make every shot count.

Here’s how it works: A laser rangefinder sends out a pulse to measure the distance to the target. A ballistic module computes where the sight needs to be to zeroed in. The shooter adjusts the aim to engage. It happens in seconds.

“Being able to do that with one shot – that’s a game changer,” said Dan Pettry, a former sniper with the U.S. Army Rangers and now a product manager for Raytheon ELCAN rifle sights.

Raytheon’s innovative, dual-field-of-view rifle sights allow forces to take on threats near or far. The ELCAN Specter DR 1-4x sight provides machine gun operators close-quarter and precision-fire capability, and the ELCAN Specter DR 1.5-6x sight offers enhanced views to locate the target and employ long-range precision fire.

These rifle sights would have been considered dream weapons back in the day, according to Pettry.  “I was always forced to make a choice between a close-quarter sight or a magnified sight and I was never comfortable with either decision,” he said.

Just being able to carry one sight to do multiple jobs is a real advantage, Pettry said.

“In the last 16, 18 years, so much equipment has been added to each individual soldier, and their capabilities are greater, but they’re forced to carry a lot more equipment,” Pettry said. “When you add 10 new pieces of equipment, things get heavy.”

Fire control is traditionally associated with large platforms such as tanks, drones, aircraft or ships, where many components work together to hit a target. Raytheon’s digital fire control system increases speed of engagement and accuracy, and at three-by-four inches and three pounds, is the only such system small enough for assault rifles. Unlike other man-portable fire control systems, it uses a single optical path for the visible and laser channels.

The system mounts onto the standard rail with a clamp and can be easily removed for use on other guns.

Another benefit of this new digital fire control system is its resiliency. In the event an electrical component on the sight breaks and the rangefinder doesn’t work, the mid- to long-range scope can still be used.

“Things get scary when you start putting moving parts into something because they break, said Brien Ross, a manager of mechanical design at Raytheon ELCAN Rifle Sights. “If everything breaks, you’re still combat-effective.”

Raytheon is developing the system for the U.S. Army. It could be available to soldiers as early as 2018.

“You put so much work and training into finding distance and all the things that go into making a good shot,” Pettry said. “The thought that someone could build a piece of equipment that could do that for you is really amazing.”

This document does not contain Technical Data or Technology controlled under either the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations or the U.S. Export Administration Regulations. E17-Z95T

Published: 02/09/2017

Last Updated: 03/14/2017

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