Visual augmentation systems (VAS) allow the SOF operator to conduct missions in a 24/7 environment. The VAS commodity area provides day/night operations capability, improved visual augmentation through battlefield obscurants, and an all-weather capability for fire control, surveillance and land navigation. The VAS area focuses on acquisition solutions for head-mounted goggles; weapon-mounted night vision sights and day scopes; handheld imagers; ground vehicle-mounted systems for drivers and crew members; and laser range finders and designators to ensure the accurate delivery of laser or satellite guided missiles and munitions. Emerging requirements include sensor and clip on thermal image fusion, expanded field-of-view, color night vision goggles, digital technology, SOF VAS accessory kit and SOF VAS countermeasures. During 2009, PEO-SW fielded 88 ground vehicle-mounted systems, 1,038 sniper night sights, 1,103 handheld imagers, 1,722 head mounted night vision goggles and 244 laser designators.
AMMUNITION AND DEMOLITION
PEO-SW develops, acquires, and manages SOF-unique ammunition, demolition and breaching devices that provide SOF operators with standoff and precision capabilities for various types of target sets and mission scenarios. The ongoing programs include the Multipurpose Anti-armor Anti-personnel Weapon System (MAAWS), the shoulder-fired Lightweight Assault Weapon (LAW), the Anti-Structural Munition (ASM) hand grenade, and the 40mm and 105mm ammunition for the AC-130 aircraft.
The MAAWS is an 84mm recoil-less, shoulder-fired, man-portable, line-of-sight, reloadable, anti-armor, and anti-personnel weapon system. PEO-SW fielded 4,065 MAAWS rounds in FY09. The MAAWS development effort includes the ASM round for destruction of buildings, and the multi-target round to penetrate hard brick and concrete structures and deliver a second lethal explosive charge inside the building. PEO-SW fielded 2,660 LAWs in FY09. The LAW development effort includes an ASM warhead and development of a fire from enclosure capability. The ASM hand grenade is being developed to provide SOF operators with a unique capability to deliver a powerful blast at close ranges. The 40mm and 105mm SOF-unique ammunition is being developed for the AC-130 aircraft to improve the safety of those munitions.
In the weapon systems commodity area, PEO-SW develops, acquires and manages weapons and ammunition that provide SOF with high reliability and precision capabilities to increase combat effectiveness. During FY09, more than 2,100 SOF-unique weapons and 6,300 weapons accessories were fielded to operational SOF units. New designs that have been developed during the past year include the MK17 Sniper Support Rifle, which will replace the light sniper systems beginning in FY10, and the MK17 “common receiver,” which by changing barrel, bolt, firing pin and trigger module, can fire 5.56mm ammunition.
More than 6 million rounds of enhanced small arms ammunition, developed as a Special Operations Science and Technology (SOST) effort, were fielded in FY09 for use in all 5.56mm and 7.62mm weapons. These SOST rounds provide the SOF warfighter with better accuracy and increased and consistent terminal ballistic effects. In addition, they are insensitive to extreme temperatures and significantly reduce visible signature. New developments in small arms ammunition include 40mm pre-fragmented, programmable, high-explosive ammunition for the MK47 Advanced Lightweight Grenade Launcher, and medium-velocity 40mm ammunition for the MK13 Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module.
Emerging requirements in the target-engagement arena include continuing improvements to weapon accessories to make them smaller, lighter, more capable and more energy efficient. The weapon shot counter (WSC) for the M4A1 has been completed, and a WSC specific to the SOF Combat Assault Rifle and SOF sniper rifles will com mence in FY10. In addition, the requirement for the Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) system has been approved. The PSR seeks to increase the effective range of the SOF sniper and is envisioned to replace the existing M24 and MK13 sniper systems for anti-personnel engagements, and a future increment will seek to replace the M107 and MK15 “Heavy Sniper Rifle” for anti-materiel engagements.
During FY09, the weapons program office effectively responded to several urgent needs for rapid acquisition of weapons and related equipment to meet expanding operational requirements in theater, which included fielding of MK44 miniguns on ground vehicles and the MK14 Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher.
The SOF Personal Equipment Advanced Requirements (SPEAR) and SOF Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) programs provide individual ground and medical equipment for special operations. The SPEAR program fields equipment that is worn or carried by SOF warfighters to increase their survivability, mobility and effectiveness. During 2009, PEO-SW fielded over 3,500 sets of body armor, 1,600 helmets, 3,000 load carriage systems, 14,000 back packs, 7,000 protective combat uniforms, 4,400 modular glove systems, 9,500 sets of eye protection and 1,000 communications headsets.
All products are designed and developed to provide an integrated modular system for the SOF warfighter. The SOF TCCC program provides medical equipment for SOF. The operator and medic kits provide lifesaving first-aid in tactical situations. Future equipment sets currently in development include a casualty evacuation kit that will provide a care for casualties from the point of wounding to the employment of definitive medical treatment.