(Article originally published on Spotter Up by Will Rodriguez)
Marathon Targets likely impressed me the most of all the displays at Ft. Benning’s 2016 Maneuver Conference. It can potentially revolutionize our small arms ranges and small unit training up to company level while tremendously increasing our Soldiers and Marines marksmanship capabilities. Today, unless our troops are given access to very limited and expensive range complexes the only opportunity they have to shoot a moving target is often limited to combat itself. Marathon’s Smart Targets can change that.
Marathon Smart Targets delivers eight robot targets in a trailer to your range. It takes one operator to control the eight robots and the trailer serves as a charging and storage facility. The chassis of each target is armored up to withstand up to 7.62 fire and the life sized mannequin type targets are instrumented to react a variety of ways to hits. Marathon Target’s proprietary target sensors allow for each target to be programmed to “die” after a certain number of hits or even require specific location hit(s) to the target. The area instrumented for specific hits aligns with the cylindrical region running from one’s head down to the groin. These areas include but are not limited to critical hit areas like the brain, throat, and center chest area, areas shooters are taught to engage when trying to stop a target. When “killed” the robot target drops to a 45 degree angle and stops moving.
The benefits to having moving targets are pretty obvious. Besides simplifying the logistics of building moving target ranges, providing the ability to shoot moving targets on any range is a huge advantage to our troops. Shooting a moving target is just exponentially more difficult than a stationary one. When shooting “movers” one must account for different leads depending on the direction and speed of travel of the target. Adding varying ranges, obscuring terrain add a whole new level of difficulty and realism to this critical combat skill.
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