Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. --
Forward observer Marines are now equipped with a lighter GPS targeting system that combines multiple devices into one handheld for accurate fire support.
The Common Laser Range Finder-Integrated Capability, fielded in February, is a lightweight, handheld GPS target location device used by dismounted Marines. The binocular-like system replaces the larger, multi-item legacy, while delivering more accurate distance and location information of targets through built-in laser range technology. With just one device, Marines can relay accurate coordinates for lethal, on-target fire support.
“With the legacy system, you had to put on the specific hardware that you wanted to use,” said Jeffrey Nebel, team lead for Fire Support Coordination at Marine Corps Systems Command. “For example, if you wanted to use the system at night you had to have the night vision goggle attached. Now you can carry one device and just by changing a switch, you can get the same capabilities without carrying all the accessories.”
The new system integrates a rangefinder, day and night cameras, GPS and celestial positioning precision allowing Marines to work regardless of time or weather. The device works by measuring the distance, direction and vertical angle from the Marine to the object.
“With a single handheld, targets can be detected and pinpointed during the day, night, and even in bad weather,” said Nebel.
Once a target is pinpointed, CLRF-IC will automatically lock in the coordinates. A single cable connected to the system can then relay the data to the Target Handoff System V2 in order to call for fire support.
Designed for rugged terrain, CLRF-IC has no moving parts so there is less potential for internal and external components to be damaged. The system weighs in at three pounds—a fraction of the 12-pound legacy system’s weight—lightening the combat load for Marines.
“A typical infantry Marine carries a load of over 90 pounds of supplies,” said Paul Knight, systems engineer for Fire Support Coordination at MCSC. “By reducing the weight and cabling, we now have a system ideal for mobile Marines.”
CLRF-IC also runs on long lasting lithium batteries for continuous use. This means that Marines can conduct calculations longer in the field.
“The CLRF-IC runs off a special lithium battery that does not need to be recharged,” said Kathleen Jest, the logistician for Fire Support Coordination at MCSC. “Marines can continually move without the need to be tied to a power source.”
For the CLRF-IC team, lighter, more capable systems are the future.
“The CLRF-IC is a good model of what we are looking to do with other tactical systems,” said Knight. “It is our goal to continually consolidate other systems to better support our Marines.”
To read more about capabilities developed by MCSC’s Armor and Fire Support Systems click here.