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Northrop Grumman Finishes Tests of Handheld Precision Targeting Device

October 1, 2014  - By
Sgt. 1st Class Justin Rotti, a combat developer from the Training and Doctrine Command Fire Cell, Fires Center of Excellence, uses a developmental handheld precision targeting device during a test at White Sands Missile Range's 500k test site. White Sands' terrain and environmental features make it well suited for testing systems of this type. (Photo Credit: John Andrew Hamilton, ATEC)

Sgt. 1st Class Justin Rotti, a combat developer from the Training and Doctrine Command Fire Cell, Fires Center of Excellence, uses a developmental handheld precision targeting device during a test at White Sands Missile Range’s 500k test site. White Sands’ terrain and environmental features make it well suited for testing systems of this type. (Photo Credit: John Andrew Hamilton, ATEC)

A new handheld targeting system developed by Northrop Grumman will enable soldiers to engage targets with precision munitions while providing digital connectivity to related military units. The unit has successfully completed developmental testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the company said.

The Hand Held Precision Targeting Device, or HHPTD, locates, acquires, designates, marks and enables rapid target engagement with precision munitions and digital connectivity to the Joint Forces engaged in conflicts. The celestial navigation technology integrated in the system delivers improved robustness despite local magnetic variations and GPS-degraded or denied environments.

The HHPTD weighs approximately five pounds and includes a GPS receiver and internal magnetic and celestial navigation technologies, as well as an internal high-definition color day and thermal night vision sensor and an eye-safe laser rangefinder. The system is compatible with external precision azimuth and vertical angle modules and provides precision target location information with digital video output, and digital communication for target location data, plus a capability for a near infrared laser pointer.

Master Sgt. Rod Larreau, with U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), uses a targeting device at White Sands Missile Range's (N.M) 500k Site to identify targets during a test. White Sands provided a wide range of test targets, both in the form of official target boards as well as other facilities, that could be seen from the Soldier's observation point. (Photo Credit: John Andrew Hamilton, ATEC)

Master Sgt. Rod Larreau, with U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), uses a targeting device at White Sands Missile Range’s (N.M) 500k Site to identify targets during a test. White Sands provided a wide range of test targets, both in the form of official target boards as well as other facilities, that could be seen from the Soldier’s observation point. (Photo Credit: John Andrew Hamilton, ATEC)

The evaluation of the HHPTD was conducted by the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, in partnership with the Army Program Executive Office’s Project Manager, Soldier Sensors and Lasers, and demonstrated the targeting device’s effectiveness in varying terrain and temperatures, ideal conditions for enabling the accurate gauging of the technology’s capabilities.

Northrop Grumman’s Laser Systems business unit is delivering the HHPTDs to support in-theater operations of Department of Defense personnel. “This system is a lightweight, precision targeting device that addresses the targeting accuracy needed by our warfighters to help deliver today’s precision GPS munitions in all operational environments,” said Gordon Stewart, vice president and general manager, Laser Systems business unit, Northrop Grumman. “We have been uniquely successful in producing precision targeting enhancements to our systems through the use of celestial navigation technology.”

The goal is to reduce friendly fire and collateral damage by improving the ability of the soldiers to differentiate between enemy combatants and non-combatants operating in very close proximity to one another. 

To best evaluate the soldier capabilities of a targeting system, soldiers at White Sands tested a variety of technologies in varying terrain and temperatures, while recording observations and data in order to help set specific, detailed development goals and objectives for the program. Meeting specified requirements is important, but including soldiers early in the evaluation process ensures acquisition professionals meet Soldiers’ needs to develop suitable equipment. 

These “soldier touchpoints” are critical to developing equipment that soldiers trust and will use in combat. “Testing at WSMR [White Sands Missile Range] gives us a better idea of how a system will work when deployed to theater,” said one soldier involved with the test. “I was able to really get a feel for how the technologies would be employed downrange.” 

Northrop Grumman Laser Systems has developed the HHPTD and a family of handheld laser target location systems tailored to meet mission requirements in collaboration with FLIR Systems in Goleta, California, General Dynamics GIT in Nashua, New Hampshire, and Wilcox Industries in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

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