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The U.S. Army has announced that it plans to strike deals with QinetiQ North America and Textron Systems to build versions of the Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV).
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.
As America's adversaries become more sophisticated, U.S. combat troops heading to the war zone may have to get used to leaving behind their phones, laptops and even personal gaming devices, military experts say.
The Pentagon doesn't have a blanket policy barring service members from taking electronic devices on deployment, but combat commanders are beginning to prohibit them when going into the unknown.
Early Wednesday morning, Army paratroopers in Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms and body armor loaded planes wearing weapons, such as M4A1 carbines, slung securely across their chests. Some carried overstuffed airborne rucksacks while old-timers shouldered customized versions of the Army's Vietnam-era ALICE packs.
They were ordered to the Middle East on short notice in response to efforts by Iran-backed militia members to breach the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The deployment also served as the debut of a revamped crisis response capability.
The U.S. Army has reversed its policy on TikTok, Military.com has learned, banning soldiers from using the popular Chinese social media app, which is now considered a security threat.
"It is considered a cyber threat," Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa, an Army spokeswoman, told Military.com. "We do not allow it on government phones."
The new acting secretary of the Navy said recently that he is open to designing a fleet that is larger than the current 355-ship plan, one that relies significantly on unmanned systems rather than solely on traditional gray hulls.