US Army Wants Smart Optics for Infantry Squads, Sources Say

TrackingPoint showed off its smart rifle at SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 18, 2016. The Army is considering buying smart optics for infantry squads. (Photo by Ho Lin/ just unveiled its new Night Vision Kit that fits all TrackingPoint weapons. Photo:

LAS VEGAS — The U.S. Army is considering buying smart optics for infantry squads, sources said.

The service is drafting a requirement for a squad fire-control system designed around a common weapon optic, a technology that would link all of the squad members’ optics together, according to a source who agreed to discuss the effort on background.

The technology would allow a squad leader to put a digital tag on a target, and the rest of the squad would be able to see the tag when they looked through their optics, the source said.

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Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Eugene

    Last thing we need computer replacing solders skill in marksmanship. Sorry drones and computers replacing men and there skill in combat will make this nation a lot more vulnerable in combat. Get a EMP and we have solder who cant even shoot any more this is pathetic.

  • C.V. Compton Shaw

    Generally, the enemy is making every effort to avoid being detected and accurately targeted. Efforts should be made to develop sensory mechanisms which facilitate the detection of highly mobile and camouflaged enemy forces. Possible means to doing the same include hearing amplification, movement detection devices, ground radar, infrared devices and other mechanisms, such as portable video cameras appropriately placed which would provide a more complete and accurate description of enemy forces and the battle field, in general. What you can’t see, you can’t shoot at accurately.

    • JCitizen

      I’d say they’ve been doing that every since Vietnam with little results – but I must admit, the technology seems to be gelling that is greatly improved on the past. Now the fear is that the average trooper may suffer information overload, much like the graphical interfaces the Air Force has been experimenting with pilots all along.

  • Larry

    Brendan, why did you put a picture of a TrackingPoint rifle and scope with this post? It sounds more like a LandWarrior type of scenario. I don’t think that TP has anything in their product line that integrates communicating target or intel details within the squad or fireteam.

  • Larry

    Here is what a Tracking Point scope does…

    You put your crosshairs on your target and then select it, either with a button or a trigger pull. The scope system determines the exact position/attitude the barrel needs to be in for the shot to hit the target. When the barrel is in that position, either immediately or several seconds later, it releases the hammer and the bullet fires. This eliminates the problem of the shooter moving the barrel, which is good. The scope system basically gets a “GPS coordinate” for where you want your bullet to impact and fires the gun when the barrel is in the position to put the bullet at those “GPS coordinates”.

  • Larry

    It does not address the target moving from the location it was in when you selected the target. There are no fins on the bullets top guide them to the target. The barrel does not move in the stock to follow the target. You still need to have the gun pointed at the target. It does not do anything for cross winds or temperature variations.

    It is an interesting piece of technology. Well suited for hitting stationary targets at long range, but not for a moving target. It doesn’t do anything that a trained marksman with a laser range finder couldn’t do.

    • TeXan1111

      Except it takes much less skill to master and does it more consistently than a master marksman. This makes the rifle much more lethal to the enemy..

  • Daisuke0222

    I get the idea that you might want to mark a particular target for your team/squad to attack, but this seems kind of pie in the sky. Still, I suppose they have to start somewhere with this kind of technology.

  • ed9339

    I served from 1984 to 1999, I started my career in the east and was in Germany when the Berlin Wall went down. I’ll put it to you all this way; every tool that we can use to advantage of our and our allies forces should be exploited. We still learn basic skills like how to read a paper map, intersection and resection even if we have GPS. But our children yours and mine are the internet generation they have for the most part grown up with technology. I remember the arguments I would have with my chain of command when I was allowed to speak and tried to explain I could fire my M60 more affectively if you just let me mount a optical sight on my weapon. I sure I was not the only troop to want to be more affective more lethal. Try it out if it works better then use it. From what I know it can make the users fire more affective and would definitely take advantage of the battle space and future technologies coming down the pipe. I know change comes hard but allowing commanders to vary their units TOE should be decisions made at the line level not high after all they are doing the fighting lets stop being arm chair generals.