Australian Army Adopts L-3 Squad Laser Range Finder

The Australian Army announced that procurement will begin for a picatinny mounted laser range finder that will supplement also recently purchased ATPIAL AN/PEQ 16s at the squad level.  The Squad Range Finder (SFR) from L-3 Warrior Systems has visible and IR laser capabilities, IR illuminator, in addition to the laser range finder. Although it lacks a white light capability, it brings to table a compact range finder accurate out to 3,000 meters. Usually laser range finders are limited to sniper teams, SF groups, and forward observers but with the SRF, an individual rifleman will be able to find the range of anything in front of him. This is not only extremely useful for engaging a point target, but also for calling in fire missions, coordinating with adjacent units, planning attacks/patrols/defenses, etc… To my knowledge this is the first time any modern professional military has pushed a laser range finder capability down to the lowest level, the private on patrol.

How the system works is somewhat unclear, but I assume it is similar to the SWR range finder from Silencer Co. There appears to be a digital reading on the back of the unit, and I assume once zeroed with a soldier’s scope, simply placing the reticle on a target and then activating the range finder will give a reading of the distance.

From L-3

The SRF is the next generation of lightweight, miniaturized laser range-finders that utilizes eye-safe, direct diode transmission at 1,550 nm to achieve range-to-targets out to 3,000 meters. Specifically designed for squad-level operations and improved mission effectiveness, the SRF replaces existing aiming lights and ranging devices at significant savings in size, weight and power.

Features

• Eye-safe laser RF with integrated aiming-illuminating lasers

• Fischer 7-pin connector (AN/PSQ-23 STORM accessory-
compatible)
• Meets military environmental requirements

• Bright white OLED display with full-text menus

This range finder is most likely based on L-3s AN/PSQ-23A Small Tactical Optical Rifle-Mounted Micro Laser Rangefinder, which the U.S. Army appeared to have procured in 2013, but I honestly haven’t seen much use of among U.S. soldiers (if at all). In addition, MARSOC was putting out a solicitation (now cancelled) for a “Sniper Ranger Finder”. Possibly the SRF was developed for this contract, but L-3 took it to the Australians when it was cancelled.





Miles

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


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  • yodamiles

    Apart from IR and visible laser capability, there’s no point of issuing range finder for every rifleman. Perhaps for designated marksman or grenadier, but not everyone.

    • User

      The thing is, why not have all in one package. Whats wrong with having IR etc and rangefinder, instead of just IR, if you have to mount the thing anyways.

    • CommonSense23

      It’s going to be really nice not having privates tell you they see someone. And when you ask who far and they can’t tell the difference between 200 yards and 600 yards.

      • valorius

        When i was in we were on one particular field problem acting as Bn OPFOR. Our tank platoon was part of BLUFOR and was rolling down a road that had to be about 2 miles away. Our 2LT ordered me to engage them (simulated, of course) with our M47 Dragon ATGM.

        “Sure thing el-tee…I think they’re about 2000 meters out of range though.”

        • Tom Currie

          That would probably have been an advantage! At that distance it is just barely possible that the tank platoon might not have noticed the [expletive omitted] distinctive signature of the Dragon, in which case you might have survived the engagement – which is a far better outcome than you could expect by engaging a tank platoon with a Dragon if you had been within range.

          • valorius

            The Dragon was as close to useless as a anti-tank weapon could be due to it’s 100m/s flight speed and optically tracking command line of sight guidance.The Javelin is orders of magnitude more effective.

        • CommonSense23

          I should edit that to include junior officers.

    • 2805662

      Useful in applying the BDC in their shiny, new, SpectreDRs for first round hits to 600 metres.

      • lals

        And also eventually usable in the field, on the fly programmable airburst grenades. With that kord controller they have planned inputting the distance should be accurate and quick. Somewhere a cornershot fan sheds a tear.

        • 2805662

          Haven’t heard from Kord for a while. I wouldn’t be surprised if it faded away. Especially as fitting the RIC precludes fitting anything else to the 6 o’clock rail (bipod, vertical grip, grenade launcher).

          • pallem

            The logic is sound, you touch type don’t you? But the ergonomics will be a big challenge, (EF88 still suffers in some respects here) I can help in this department.
            But the approach Australia is taking has no equal. Slowly adding a mature piece of tech to get to that big hitter. Next would be a reliable airburst grenade/s. They have the metal storm, electronic ignition tech to save space and weight. U.S may offer to sell theirs off the shelf. Then the grenade launcher added to the rifle, it would easily snap on. Then the power system. A portion of the rifle has a space allotted for the battery and electronics,, as well as power connector for the powered rail. I thought this would be difficult, but if you look at how easily the top rail + barrel assembly comes off, to add a powered rail would literally be a 5 second operation. And the kord system, is just a really high quality gamepad/keyboard. (ie registers multiple buttons being pressed).
            Hopefully next war we’ll finally get some land. (A “The Water Diviner” joke)

  • Steve

    The STORM is in use – you just don’t see many pictures of it. It also costs about 10-20x more than a simple PEQ-15/16 and is much, much larger (and does a LOT more than the PEQ-15/16 or SRF). The pictures (that aren’t PR photos) that do pop up are usually of it being employed on the M110.

    Much like the VSLIM (with it’s 1.5 W non-visible laser), they don’t just hand these out to everyone…

    • Steve

      …also – worldarmies on Flickr is a good source for seeing some of this stuff if you feel like doing some digging.

    • valorius

      M110 8″ howitzer?

      • Blake

        Seems fairly obvious he’s talking about the M110 semi auto sniper system.

        • valorius

          I hate when they reuse designations, especially on a rifle that already has a gillion designations, particularly when it’s a modular system where the main difference is just slapping a different upper on a common lower.

  • valorius

    When i was in we had the “GLID” (GV/LLD) laser designator. It was the only piece of kit in the platoon that i didn’t volunteer/beg to carry in the field at one time or another. I liked to familiarize with every weapon or new hi tech gizmo to expand my own soldiering horizons… but not that thing. It was an enormous box that i am sure was filled with pure lead.

  • xebat

    It seems a PEQ-15 is a must in modern army. Why tough, has everyone who is deployed to Afghanistan for example have a night vision device issued ?

    • John

      Being able to see your enemy at night is a giant advantage.