A Technology Profile – The Precise Target Acquisition Systems Developments
by Dr. Eyal Pinko
The modern battlefield environment has become more and more complex. Future operations in the modern battlefield will be characterized by the indeterminate nature of the threats, their adaption abilities, and the dynamic change.
The emerging threats in the operational environment will be of different types, sizes, capacities, and origins. Those emerging threats can be from regular military forces to insurgent forces, which could be transformed into networks, enabling them to multiply their operational effectiveness and efficiency in the new age of warfare.
The modern warfare and battlefield are being shaped by three major trends: asymmetric adversaries, ever-escalating costs of modern weaponry, and maintaining deterrence in an environment of a growing arms race.
Maintaining deterrence and gaining operational capabilities in the modern ground battlefield are being built on accurate weapons, munition, and special operations units, operating in silence, hit, and disappear.
Precise target acquisition systems are the basis for executing ground military operations, enabling special operations units’ snipers, fire support, artillery, mortars, and aerial support.
Precise target acquisition systems are a necessity for force protection from one hand, and from the other hand, they are needed for high precision and effective attacks: Smart to the point.
Disruptive new technologies are the key enablers for the development of precise weapon and munition. More than that, new technologies are also key enablers for the advanced developments of modern precise target acquisition systems.
The main applications for precise target acquisition systems are:
- Guns and field artillery preparation, positioning, and alignment as pre-condition for the accurate firing of artillery shells, rockets, mortars, etc.
- Direct artillery and mortar fire onto a target by a forward artillery observer or spotter
- Forward Air Controller for close air support and spotter for naval gunfire support
- Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) in joint operations and in a complex environment
- Surveillance, Intelligence & Reconnaissance (SIR) operations and intelligence gathering missions
- Snipers’ shooting missions
- Navigation and orientation in challenging areas and terrains.
The new age precise target acquisition systems are adopting disruptive technologies, which enable them to be more adaptable, stealth, effective, and present resilient combat capabilities.
Precise target acquisition systems should incorporate several critical capabilities, such as long-range targets pointing and measuring, high accuracy, day and night operations, redundancy, be independent of GNSS , lightweight, resilience to the surrounding conditions (shock, vibration, humidity, temperature, etc.), and low power consumption.
Modern precise target acquisition systems should incorporate real-time interoperability capabilities for command and control systems, fire support missions, and joint operations.
An additional capability of modern precise target acquisition systems is the full-integration with weapon systems and sensors, such as RF radars, laser finders, CCD/IR cameras, and SIGINT systems, on mobile or stationary tripods and pedestal.
Passive targeting capabilities are a critical feature of precise target acquisition systems. The passive capabilities enable the operators to accomplish their missions in urban and other complex environments, in which the adversaries operate electronic warfare systems, RF receivers, and laser detectors. The passive capabilities enable the operators not to be revealed by the adversaries’ forces.
POINTER is a man portable Target Acquisition System developed and produced by the Israeli company ASIO Technologies.
POINTER is designed to deliver high accuracy target coordinates and full-scale fire support and mission planning capabilities for the Forward Observer (FO), Fire Support Teams (FIST), Forward Air Controller (FAC), and for artillery gun laying and battery targeting and fire support. The POINTER system is operating in the day, night, and all-weather conditions.
POINTER has advanced features embedded in its architecture which grants it unique capabilities and unmatched performances.
The POINTER is based on mobile architecture for low power consumption and long mission duration. The system has an integrated mission computer packed with essential GIS tools and mission planning capabilities.
The POINTER is typically mounted on a tripod or other fixed position and serves as a docking station for Electro-Optical and Infra-Red sensors. The system has a large payload capacity and can easily integrate into any third-party observation sensors such as DVO’s, thermal imagers, laser rangefinders, CMOS/SWIR cameras, and laser designators.
Other unique benefits of POINTER are north-finding application enabling true/grid north finding within seconds, without prior knowledge of the mission’s area, innovative software interface, providing intuitive and straightforward targeting and fire coordination, facilitating all-digital, all visual MMI, enabling targeting to be performed on digital maps and other visual aids.
POINTER has a passive targeting capability to continuously acquire static or moving targets without using a laser range finder or any other energy-emitting component, which adversary’s forces can reveal.
POINTER has full command and control capabilities, complete with GIS, digital maps, connectivity to all Battle Management Systems, enabling data dissemination (both in and out) of targets and mission parameters both horizontally and laterally.
POINTER is a modern precise target acquisition system that enables mobile forces, artillery units, aerial and naval support platforms, and commando units to perform today’s missions and prepare for the future battlefield’s unique characteristics.
For the modern and complex battlefield environment, POINTER enables generals operational and strategic opportunities to cope with emerging threats and dynamic situations.