Defense Media Network

Improvements to Optical Sights Bring Better Eyes to the Front Lines

The ELCAN Specter Rifle Sight Switches Rapidly Between Multiple Views

Ty Blanchard was leading a U.S. Special Forces team, securing a small village in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, when gunfire erupted and one of his men went down. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of a figure escaping and circling back to flank and attack. He had to act fast.

Blanchard’s gun was equipped with a dual-field-of-view ELCAN optical sight. He switched his view from 1x close-quarters mode to 4x long-range engagement, suppressed the enemy fire with his own and sent the attackers fleeing, allowing him to move his team out safely.

“Being able to engage at the weapon’s maximum effective range accurately – even just being able to get them to put their heads down – saved our guys’ lives,” said Blanchard. He served more than 26 years in the U.S. Army, is now in the Army National Guard and is a senior manager for Raytheon Land Warfare Systems.

That was in 2015. Made by Raytheon, the ELCAN Specter dual-role and fixed magnification sights have since been improved, with their weight reduced by 15 percent and battery life extended by 50 percent. Both have a new, low profile illumination switch.

The dual-role sight is also available with 1.5-6x magnification and more than 50 custom ballistic reticles to meet changing, unpredictable mission requirements, as when troops must make a choice between targets that are close in or far out.

“Very often, missions don’t turn out how you plan,” said Dan Pettry, a former U.S. Army Ranger and now a product manager for Raytheon ELCAN Rifle Sights. “That’s why having two weapons with two different sights isn’t the best scenario.”