10th MTN Soldiers learn how to use new ITWS on M3 Carl Gustaf

Staff Sergant David R. Caballero, 1st Platoon, Chaos Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, trying the ITWS.

FORT BELVOIR, Virginia – Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) had first-hand experience in August using the latest aiming technology innovation that makes the Army’s recoilless rifle even deadlier.

New Equipment Trainers of Project Manager Soldier Sensors and Lasers partnered with Project Manager Soldier Weapons and taught 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment Soldiers to use the Integrated Thermal Weapons Sight on the M3 Multi-role Anti-armor Anti-tank Weapon System Carl Gustaf Recoilless Rifle. The ITWS incorporates the AN/PAS-13E Thermal Weapons Sight and the AN/PSQ-23A Small Tactical Optical Rifle Mounted Laser Range Finder. The live-fire training occurred on a range on Fort Drum, New York.

PM SSL is part of Program Executive Office Soldier and equips Soldiers with sensors, lasers and precision targeting devices to dominate the battlefield through improved lethality, mobility, situational awareness and survivability in all operational environments. PM SW is also part of PEO Soldier and equips Soldiers with individual and crew served weapons to dominate the battlefield through improved lethality in all operational environments.

“We had a capability gap in that we could not effectively engage targets at night with the ‘Carl-G’ (M3),” said Capt. Alex Stewart, 2-22 Infantry Assistant Operations and Planning. “I expected our Soldiers to learn how to mount, operate, and make adjustments to the ITWS to give us that capability.”

“Our task, or rather challenge, was not just to train Soldiers to operate the system to engage targets at night,” Captain Stewart said. “It was two-fold: We needed to establish that capability, and equip leaders with the knowledge to train other Soldiers within our anti-tank sections. This training allowed us to do both.”

To train the Soldiers, the NET had two objectives, according to Lonnie Schnepp, Special Operations Training Instructor Lead with PM SSL. The first was to train the Soldiers on how to operate the TWS and the STORM laser range finder, and integrate both of those systems onto the M3.

The second objective, according to Schnepp, was to increase the lethality of the 2-22 Infantry’s AT section. Schnepp said the use of the TWS allows the detection and engagement of targets 24/7 including during limited visibility. Additionally, the TWS AN/PAS-13E variant is equipped with software that allows precise range and aiming calculations when used in conjunction with the STORM.

“Integrating the TWS/STORM onto the M3 provides the units anti-armor section with a new level of lethality that allows the Soldiers to engage targets during daylight and limited to no visibility operations,” Schnepp said.

A Soldier within 1st Platoon, Chaos Company, 2-22 Infantry, said the training thoroughly prepared them. “This class far exceeded my expectations,” said Staff Sgt. David. R. Caballero. “The instructors had a wealth of knowledge and were more than willing to conduct one on one training when needed. I initially thought the class would cover just the basics of the ITWS and the STORM. I didn’t expect it to be as in depth as it was.”

After two days of training, the 2-22 Infantry Soldiers had the opportunity to fire 22 high explosives rounds from the M3 MAAWS, putting their training into practical use.

“The live-fire day was great,” Captain Stewart said. “It tied all the classroom training together. The ITWS allowed us to detect, aim, and fire on a target that could not be seen with the naked eye. The tank hulk was obscured by overgrown vegetation, but when viewed through the PAS-13, it was glowing. Anytime Soldiers get to shoot high explosives at a target they wouldn’t normally be able to see is a good day.”

Staff Sergeant Caballero also appreciated the live fire. “Shooting the live rounds was definitely great. Not only is it fun to shoot such a lethal weapon, but it showed how well the systems work together,” the sergeant said. “The live fire actually showed us that the systems work great together versus someone telling us so.

“The best part was the confidence we gained in operating this weapon system in the conditions of limited visibility,” Staff Sergeant Caballero added.

(Russell Petcoff, PEO Soldier staff writer, contributed to this article.)

Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, fire the MAAWS using the ITWS. (Courtesy photo)

Rob Cooley, left, and Jimmy Nelson test an Integrated Thermal Weapons Sight on the M3 Multi-role Anti-armor Anti-tank Weapon System Carl Gustaf Recoilless Rifle prior to live-fire training.

Two M3 Multi-role Anti-armor Anti-tank Weapon System Carl Gustaf Recoilless Rifles with the Integrated Thermal Weapons Sight.

About Alton Stewart

Alton Stewart is the Acting Director of Public Affairs for PEO Soldier. An Army veteran of the Gulf War, he has been with PEO Soldier since 2003.