December 3, 2013 --
By Lance Cpl. Suzann Lapi, Marine Corps Base Hawaii
Marines from 3rd Marine Regiment conducted an M203 40 mm grenade launcher shoot with a recently developed sight as part of fielding and new equipment training Nov. 19 at Kaneohe Bay Range Training Facility in Hawaii.
Capt. Robert Tavzel, Marine Corps Systems Command project officer for Lasers and Illuminators within Infantry Weapons Systems and a native of Fredericksburg, Va., said the new sight was developed in response to an urgent universal needs statement.
An urgent UNS is used to identify a mission-critical capability gap by forces conducting combat or specific contingency operations.
“The grenade launcher sight [SU-277/PSQ] is being fielded to supplement and potentially replace the AN/PSQ-18A sight because of the need for something smaller and lighter,” Tavzel said. “The GLS also features a holographic red dot sight for easier aiming and includes ballistic data. Depending on the ammunition used, the sight automatically adjusts itself. This is the initial fielding, and it’s much better than the old system.”
MCSC is fielding the sight as the Department of the Navy’s systems command for Marine Corps ground weapon and information technology systems. It is also the Marine Corps commandant's agent for acquisition and sustainment of warfighting systems and equipment.
Each battalion of 3rd Marines sent 25 warfighters to participate in the training. Each shooter received 28 training rounds of 40 mm grenade ammunition. After zeroing their weapons, they shot known and unknown range targets.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Robertson, the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines gunner and a native of Houston, said the Marines received classroom instruction on employment of the grenade launcher sight, then moved to the range to test its newly developed capabilities.
“The system is very well put together,” Robertson said. “It’s more compact, and a good supplement to customary sights. The dual modes between rounds make it easy for Marines to work with.”
Robertson said the sight testing was a great opportunity for the Marines to contribute because the Marine Corps is examining the results.
“[The participating Marines] have an impact on the future of the Marine Corps,” Robertson said. “Their feedback, everything they say about the sight’s performance, will go back to Quantico.”
As the Marines shot on one of five target points, a personnel safety officer coached them after each round was sent down range. The range targets were painted yellow and scaled the side of the hill, offering varied difficulty levels.
Lance Cpl. Joshua White, a rifleman with 1st Bn., 3rd Marines and native of Austin, Texas, said compared to other sight systems, the grenade launcher sight is far superior.
“It’s intuitive because it self-adjusts for different ammunition,” White said. “For as often as we carry the weapon, we don’t have the opportunity to shoot. It benefits us to be able to come out and try to knock the rust off. We were able to shoot accurately and properly evaluate the system.”
Besides new equipment training in Hawaii, MCSC has also conducted training at Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms in California; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan. MCSC has completed initial fielding with I, II, and III Marine Expeditionary Forces, and the next shipments will be sent to Marine Forces Central Command in theatre. According to Tavzel, based on the delivery schedule from the manufacturer, fielding should be complete by the third quarter of this fiscal year.
Bill Johnson-Miles, MCSC Corporate Communications, contributed to this story.