We’ve heard plenty of reports that our armed forces would like a Picatinny rail that powers anything plugged into it. We’ve pointed out that it’s probably not a good idea to make our troops dependent on a power source that doesn’t at least optionally run on AA batteries, as they’re easily sourced in country. Also, if the rail fails, all the bits fail. And not all bits are created equal. A flashlight that fails is not as important as a red dot sight that goes dark, until it is. So, backup batteries in each unit? And if you have backups, where’s the advantage in a powered rail? If you don’t have backup double A’s, what? Swap out a whole rail? In fact, screw it. Let’s keep it as is. Now how about a rifle-mounted universal controller?According to marinecorpstimes.com, here’s some of the stuff that the Marines might want it to control . . .
• AN/PVS-29 visible light illuminator replacement.
•AN/PAS-13D thermal weapon sight.
•AN/PVS-17C I2 weapon sight.
•AN/PAS-27 individual weapon night sight-thermal.
•AN/PVS-24A individual weapon night sight-image intensifier
•AN/PEQ-16A mini-integrated pointer illuminator module
•AN/PRC-153 integrated intrasquad radio.
•AN/PRC-152 tactical hand-held radio.
•QuietPro tactical headset.
TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia grew up during the weird ass pursuit of “convergence”: one cameraphoneTVcomputertoasterclockpdaremotecontrol device to rule them all. What we got was the iPhone. Somehow, I don’t think touch screens are the way to go on a rifle. Anyway, what IS the point here? To quote the Talking Heads, take a look at these hands.
“Controlling the functionality of these items often requires the Marine to remove a hand from his weapon to manipulate each device individually,” Marine officials said in the RFI. “The USMC desires a single device, which attaches to the weapon, that can control multiple electronic items based on any mission configuration requirements.”
The control device could be adapted for the M203 40mm grenade launcher when the launcher is mounted to the M16A4 and M4, Marine officials said. The service is open to devices that connect to the gear both through wires and wirelessly, but Marines must be able to operate them without changing their hand placement on the weapon and while wearing gloves. It also should be able to handle the shock of a weapon firing repeatedly and high temperatures, since it will be mounted on or near barrels that heat up as a weapon is used.
Sounds like fun! Except when it isn’t.