United States Army representatives have developed a new “escalation of force” capability for the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS). Dubbed “Green Eyes,” the kit was highlighted at this week’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
The Green Eyes kit leverages the widely used CROWS weapon system to provide enhanced threat deterrence and force protection. The enhancement kit provides the capability to switch on and off multiple auxiliary devices, including an infrared pointing laser and green “ocular disrupting” laser. The ability to temporarily disrupt vision provides a non-lethal escalation of force option.
Sources close to the program offer the example of a checkpoint scenario, where soldiers manning the location had previously been limited to firing warning shots as a non-lethal tool. Unfortunately, those shots could have been misinterpreted by personnel in approaching vehicles. The green ocular disrupting laser now provides that warning much more clearly without the need for early kinetic response.
In addition, the kit also includes an infrared laser that can serve as a pointer for other troops equipped with night vision goggles.
The kit is tied into CROWS and bore sighted to the lethal options, with control of the lasers performed on the CROWS controller inside the vehicle.
Representatives in the office of Program Manager for Soldier Weapons reportedly obtained a patent for the integration of the Green Eyes kit – with laser from B.E. Meyers – onto CROWS. The integration effort earned the Green Eyes team recognition under the Army’s “Greatest Inventions” program.
Development of the system spanned the past several years, with the Army deploying eight kits into operational theaters for forward operational assessments in the April 2011 timeframe.
As of this writing, the Army is in the process of integrating another 50 kits in the field this fall. Those 50 kits, being procured under the Rapid Equipping Force, are going to the same unit that performed the initial forward operational assessment.