The Army’s advanced new sights could end up leading to reckless shooting and fratricide, experts say
After more than 20 years of attempts, the U.S. Army is now equipping infantrymen with a sophisticated sighting system that allows them to accurately shoot around corners without exposing themselves to enemy fire. But this futuristic capability, some say, may come at the cost of proficiency and could even result in more friendly-fire casualties.
Using a technology known as Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA), soldiers can see their weapon sight reticle wirelessly transmitted from a new thermal sight on the M4A1 carbine into their thermally enhanced night vision goggles, allowing them to see and quickly shoot enemy targets — day or night, from the hip or lying behind cover and shooting over a wall.
“It’s hard to express how much of a game-changing technology this is for our soldiers on the battlefield,” Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, commander of Program Executive Office Soldier, said during a recent interview.
Army officials promise the RTA technology has performed well in soldier testing. But military experts warn that if the service isn’t careful, it could lead to an overreliance on technology, degrading critical marksmanship skills over time and increasing the risks of fratricide that come with ambiguity in thermal-spectrum detection.
More and more challenges like this are likely to arise as the Army’s extensive modernization effort begins to yield new capabilities that rely on advanced technology such as robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality to enhance soldier performance on the battlefield, they said.
“I think when new technologies come in, they enable people to do things that they weren’t able to do before and to do current tasks more easily with less intent — you don’t have to concentrate as …read more
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