Recent news from the Department of Defense has shown that the 2nd Marine Law Enforcement Battalion, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina has been working with Marine Corps Systems Command in testing a new target system that the Marine Corps could possibly purchase and integrate into marksmanship qualifications. Although the DOD imagery was very discrete about where the targets were from, not mentioning the company name or showing them up-close, the Australian-based company Marathon Robotics Corporation made it clear that 2nd LEB was indeed testing their moving target systems through a post on their Facebook page.
The Marines were seen shooting at the targets with the gauntlet of small arms available to a T/O equipped infantry battalion, from M9s to M240s and even M110 SASS precision rifles. It appears that 2nd LEB was being used as a data sample in a testing process that at been going on since at least June 2011 when Quantico announced a training requirement for moving targets. Then in 2013, Marines from The Basic School (officer training) were selected for testing of the system. Finally in 2016 momentum seemed to be picking up from the Weapons Training Battalion to try and introduce moving targets into the actual Marine Corps Rifle Qualifications as Table 7.
Marathon Targets used to be the only moving target manufacturer since the company really started making waves in 2010. Of particular note is that the Australian Armed Forces have really taken to Marathon, integrating the system into training regimes for troops bound for Iraq and Syria deployments. However, earlier this year a U.S.-based company in Michigan called Pratt & Miller’s Defense started making and testing moving targets as well.
The choice of 2nd LEB for this test is probably due to two reasons. The first one being that Quantico wants to see how non-infantry Marines stores compare during the testing, so if this Table 7 is unveiled to the entire Fleet, it can be used by every Marine regardless of MOS. The second reason is probably that 2nd LEB was available and not on a deployment schedule.