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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program
Target location, designation, and hand-off system;
The lightweight 155-mm howitzer;
Antipersonnel obstacle breaching system; and
Thermal weapons sight.
ONR Code 353’s firepower and fire support programs must also be viewed in the context of Marine Corps acquisition programs of record in these areas. Although these programs have moved beyond the S&T stage of the development and acquisition process, it is certainly appropriate for Code 353 to support enhancements to these systems that can be retrofitted into them so that performance can ultimately be improved.
The FNC endeavor described in Chapter 1 (in “ ONR S&T Management ,” pages 9-10) appears to represent a significant change in the development process. Within ONR, FNC offices will focus resources to ensure that specific desirable future capabilities are developed without diluting this focus by pursuing the discovery programs that will provide longer-term capabilities.
ONR has an FNC program in the area of missile defense. This program appears to be focused on the provision of missile defense for areas that are beyond the line of sight of the Navy’s Aegis radar. This effort will support an extended application of the Navy’s cooperative engagement capability, the development of a fully active version of the Navy’s SM-2 missile, and the integration of these systems with Marine Corps air defense systems. The scope of this effort is clearly beyond the capabilities and responsibilities of ONR Code 353.
Enhanced Target Acquisition and Location Program
ONR Code 353’s Enhanced Target Acquisition and Location (ETAL) program is dedicated to a significant enhancement to the performance of the Marine Corps target location, designation, and handoff system (TLDHS) that will permit a forward observer or forward air controller to send digital target coordinates to platforms providing supporting fire. The capability that will be provided by the TLDHS clearly will be central to the execution of the OMFTS doctrine. Unfortunately the version of the TLDHS that is being acquired employs a magnetic compass for the determination of a target’s bearing. Aside from the difficulties of maintaining the calibration of such a sensor, it is inherently a sensor of limited precision. Thus, although the TLDHS uses a laser range finder to determine a target’s range from an observer whose location is established with the global positioning system (GPS), the TLDHS cross-range precision is poor.
The ETAL effort is exploring the use of GPS interferometers and miniaturized gyrocompasses so that an azimuth accuracy of 7 miles or less may be achieved against a static target by a man-portable targeting system in favorable visibility conditions. Efforts to date in support of the ETAL objective appear to be proceeding successfully.
The committee is concerned that no S&T funding is projected for man-portable targeting systems beyond FY03. Since the development of an effective man-portable targeting system is central to the