“For months, Army officials have bragged that the branch’s new Joint Effects Targeting System will boost the precision and lethality of forward observers by effectively ‘turning a howitzer or a Paladin into a giant sniper rifle,'” nationalinterest.org reports. By the end of the year, every artillery platoon will find out if they were bluffing.” Bluffing? Is that how our procurement system works? Anyway, this is how the JETS works . . .
Envisioned as a lightweight man-portable substitute for the bulky Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder, JETS relies on a unique assembly of advanced sensor technology to measure everything from distance to target to the rotation of the Earth, allowing forward observers to relay more precise targeting data up the chain of command than ever before.
So JETS is a substitute for a bulky piece of equipment officially termed “lightweight.” And that’s not a very good description of how JETS outperforms the LLRD. So let’s try again:
While the LLDR currently used by soldiers downrange generates detailed CAT-II precision-targeting grids for Army personnel up the chain of command, the JETs significantly improves on the precision targeting concepts the former pioneered.
Besides the standard GPS antenna and laser rangefinder, Munn pointed to the Precision Azimuth and Vertical Angle Module (PAVAM) that uses a resonating gyroscope to measure the rotation of the Earth and determine true north regardless of operations conditions.
“Most northfinding systems use a celestial camera that literally takes pictures of the sky, but that’s weather dependent: If there are clouds or fog, you don’t get the pictures you want,” Munn told Task & Purpose. “The PAVAM gets you true north regardless of weather.”
And the performance difference between JETS and LLRD?
“If your target is, say, the intersection of four city blocks, previous non-precision targeting devices (not including the LLDR [Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder]) would get you within a block range of that target,” Capt. Eric Munn, assistant product manager for JETS at PEO Soldier, told Task & Purpose. “[JETS] puts you within that intersection, and it does so without having to walk a spotting round down to the target and alerting them that, well, you’re shooting at them.” . . .
Now how much would you pay? Wait! Don’t answer!
The Army only fielded LLRD at the company level. The Army plans of blessing every single platoon with a JETS thingamabob. And if that goes well . . .
Apart from filling that capability gap, broader fielding will likely prove beneficial long-term for precision munitions deployed from fixed-wing aircraft on top of artillery pieces.
JETS is a joint-interest program with the Air Force and Marine Corps, and Munn told Task & Purpose that the system provides CAT-II grids that are compatible with a full range of drop GPS-guided munitions and Army-fired artillery shells, from the 155mm howitzer shell to the Hellfire missile Indeed.
Munn added that the targeting data vacuumed up by the handset could easily transfer to aviators above the battlespace depending on each branch’s digital communication requirements. Eventually, the tool could see fielding to joint terminal attack controllers.
So JETS isn’t compatible with current targeting systems for aircraft — at least not yet. And there’s no price tag mentioned. Awesome.