U.S. Army Operational Test Command
Fort Hood, TX
Forward observers, experts in directing artillery and mortar fire onto enemy targets, have been testing a new piece of targeting equipment recently. “Black Falcon” soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, put their hands on the Joint Effects Targeting System (JETS) — a modular, man-portable, hand-held, day/night, all-weather, target observation, location, and designation system. Components of the JETS include a Handheld Target Location Module (HTLM); a Laser Marker Module (LMM); and a Precision Azimuth Vertical Angle Module, all mounted atop a tripod.
Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Orouke, a test noncommissioned officer with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABN-SOTD), said JETS testing collects data to determine its suitability, reliability and survivability when conducting static line airborne operations in a door bundle configuration for airdrops.
HHB Troopers spent four days in New Equipment Training (NET) from the Program Manager Soldier Precision Targeting Devices office out of Fort Belvoir, VA. Sgt. 1st Class Juan Cruz, ABNSOTD assistant JETS test NCO, said that NET places the soldiers in practical exercises that validate their being able to use the equipment in their missions.
After NET validation, the “Black Falcons” put JETS through its paces by performing seven combat equipment jumps and several door bundle drops, making sure that when JETS hits the ground after the jump, it still functions. After each airborne operation, the “Black Falcon” forward observers assembled the equipment, then began identifying and designating enemy personnel and vehicle targets in day and night conditions. Targets were arrayed over rolling terrain from 800 meters to over 2,500 meters away, then test data was gathered to prepare a test report so senior Army leaders can make procurement decisions on JETS.
Upon completion of testing, JETS could potentially be issued to Army Light and Airborne Artillery forces worldwide, signaling the first steps in upgrading the target acquisition of artillerymen.
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