A new handheld targeting system expected to hit units in late 2018 can turn a howitzer or Paladin into a “giant sniper rifle.”

The JETS, or Joint Effects Targeting System, is a man-portable, handheld, target observation, location and designation system built for day or night use in all weather conditions.

The system includes a Handheld Target Location Module, a Laser Marker Module and Precision Azimuth Vertical Angle Module, which are mounted on a tripod.

Army researchers expect to wrap up testing and evaluation, including inclement weather and airdrop tests, on the JETS by early 2018.

Artillery soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, conducted parachute jumps with the JETS while testing the system in both artillery and mortar call for fire missions in late 2017.

Six teams of forward observers from the 1st Stryker Brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment did field fires and testing at Fort Greeley, Alaska, in August.

Lt. Col. Michael Frank, product manager for Soldier Precision Targeting Devices, called the device a “paradigm shift” in targeting, capable of turning a howitzer or Paladin weapon into a “giant sniper rifle.”

Frank said in an Army release that the device is both more precise and allows for a more rapid response in targeting.

“We don’t have to take anywhere from 15 to 18 to 20 minutes,” Frank said. “We can get that target data to the guns and rounds out of the tube faster with JETS than without.”

The device is expected to be fielded to every forward observer team beginning in July 2018, according to the Army.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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