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New Sight Programs Expand Combat Effectiveness

A number of recent tactical sighting and aiming programs may soon expand and enhance operational capabilities at both long and short range for U.S. warfighters.

Long Range

As an example, late April 2010 saw the announcement that U.S. Army’s Communications Electronics Command Life Cycle Management Command (CECOM LCMC) intended “to acquire or equivalent to commercial of 7 each AN/PVS 27 Magnum Universal Night Sight (MUNS),” describing the clip-on night vision weapon sight as “mount[ing] on any MIL-STD-1913 rail interface forward of an existing scope, adding night vision capabilities to daytime target acquisition platforms.”

Optimized for medium-range and long-range sniper weapons, including the M110, SR-25/Mk. 11, XM107, M24 in .338 Lapua and .308, Chandler Sniper Rifle, and other sniper rifles chambered in .300 Win Mag, MUNS is “effective on all weapons from carbines to .50 caliber semi-automatic and bolt action sniper rifles,” according to OmniTech Partners, Inc., the manufacturer.

The MUNS includes OSTIs (Optical Systems Technology Inc.) proprietary Shock Mitigation System (SMS) allowing the unit to be used on weapons up to and including .50 caliber bolt-action rifles.

Comparing the MUNS to the AN/PVS-22 Universal Night Sight (UNS), the announcement credited the newer system with “gather[ing] twice as much light as the AN/PVS-22 Universal Night Sight and can be used against targets at 1.5 times the range of the AN/PVS-22.”

Different applications allow the unit to be mounted on a spotting scope for long-range reconnaissance, hand-held as a Night Observation Device (NOD), or used in other night-time operations requiring night vision capabilities.

Short Range

Action is also taking place at the shortest end of the range spectrum, where the U.S. Army has just announced its requirement for a Sniper Quick Fire Sight (SQFS).

“The U.S. Army Snipers have a requirement for an SQFS Kit to augment close quarter battle (CQB) on the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, M24 Sniper Weapon System, and Mk. 13, and Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) while using the two eyes open method of sighting,” it notes, adding, “The SQFS will serve as a back-up reflex optic to engage targets that are within a proximity too close to employ the Sniper Weapon Optic.”

The new solicitation focuses on procurement of a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) item capable of meeting specified user requirements.

The need for expanded night close quarter capabilities is also evident in the recent U.S. Navy actions to procure a Combat Assault Pistol (CAP) Laser.

A late April announcement described the device as “designed to be conforming to the grip on a Heckler & Koch 45 Compact (HK45C) pistol. It shall not interfere with the operation of the pistol or require a special holster. It shall provide an Infrared (IR) aiming laser that shall be visible on target with image intensification devices at 10 yards. This will provide an aiming point for an operator that is wearing [an] image intensification device. The laser shall be classified as Class 1 per the ANSI standard. The CAP Laser will be used for target aiming during operational situations.”

The possibility of multiple contract awards for initial proposal and pre-production system evaluations would likely lead to a down-selection for a single vendor to provide up to 1,500 units.


Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...