By Mr. Bryan Gatchell (Benning)December 3, 2018
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Dec. 3, 2018) - Personnel from Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) observed a live-fire demonstration on remotely operated moving targets at Carmouche Range here Nov. 7.
The targets, which included mock-ups of personnel and of pickup trucks, rolled along the uneven terrain of the range, which is typically used for tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicle training.
Tom Scarbath, who works for TRADOC Capabilities Manager - Ranges (TCM-Ranges), described the targets as "a tremendous logistics saver" because Army trainers can set up a range where it had not previously existed or they can repurpose a range not originally intended for the type of training being conducted, as was demonstrated at Carmouche Range.
"To be able to transport this to an area that can be hilly and flat - we don't currently have that capability," said Scarbath. "It's hard to take all this infrastructure and put it in a (military van) and take it overseas. There's a lot of rotations in both the states and (with) our NATO allies that we can make a range in a box, so to speak. We can make a range where nothing exists right now, which is a tremendous asset."
The targets also represent a potential saving in financial resources, according to Scarbath.
"If you use our current methodology, it costs for the berm, the protective dirt, the rail, and the target about a million dollars a pop, so this would be much less expensive," he said. "Any time you have either a moving armor target or a moving infantry target, it's very, very expensive to construct."
The targets are not significantly larger than what they represent. One of the truck targets, which was used as a distance target, is a side cutout of a truck. The other truck target was more polyhedral and used significantly closer to the Soldiers of the 75th Ranger Regiment, who fired on the targets. The truck shapes hovered several feet above the terrain of the range on stilts perched on the wheeled mechanisms that moved them about.
The wheeled platforms that carried the vehicular and personnel targets were operated remotely by personnel of the company who developed the targets. Despite their remote operability, the targets could interact semi-independently of their operators and react to the fire they receive. If the moving targets detect a near miss, they can change direction to avoid further fire. If the trucks are hit, they can put off smoke. The Infantry targets can also "return fire," which means they will flash lights at the military personnel training on them.
"It makes it more realistic," said Scarbath. "It makes it much more challenging than it is today. It's much more difficult to hit a moving target that is not fixed to a rail.
"The new technology more reflects reality," he continued. "Because in reality, the targets or the enemy don't just pop up and stay there until you knock it down without moving, or be confined to that rail."
The next step for the targets will be a safety assessment, due to take place at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland.
For photos from this event, visit "PHOTO ALBUMS" in the "Related Links" section on this page.