Back in June on my personal site, I sniped at TrackingPoint (metaphorically speaking) for being a military wolf in hipster clothing, stating:
I simply don’t see a viable long-term civilian market for such a system.
- Very few civilians can justify a highly specialized $22,000 rifle that comes in just two extremely specialized calibers with very specific loadings.
- Long range civilian shooters enjoy the process of shooting, and this system removes that joy.
So who would be the real market for such a system? Who has:
- deep pockets
- hires people who shoot for living
- has an affinity for long-range precision accuracy with as little collateral damage as possible
- a demonstrated need to ramp up a large number of long-range shooters
- needs to do all that while drastically reducing the amount of training time, skill-building, and natural talent found in the current development of a sniper?
If TrackingPoint can substantially reduce the amount of time needed to train a company or squad-level designated marksman, and give each designated marksman legitimate sniper range and increased first-shot hit capability, then we’re looking at a very cost-effective military force projection option. In my opinion, TrackingPoint was never really designed for civilian shooters. It was designed to increase use of precision small arms in the military.
It wasn’t exactly rocket science to see where they were headed from the very beginning, but now they’re being open about it.
They have more on the new a military-focused section on their site called The Future of War, which asserts:
Smart rifle technology is more than just making shooters more accurate – it can form the core platform for a networked battlefield with its internal sensors, computing power, and communication architecture. Dynamic, interactive common operating pictures using something as simple a commercial off the shelf tablet, inter and intra-squad target handoff, a constant stream of near real time critical data running between squad members, units, and command structures – these are no longer concepts drawn from science fiction or the latest video game – these are real capabilities that are months not years away. Just as GPS changed warfare at the turn of the century, the next changes will occur via smart weapons at the small unit level where massive increases in baseline lethality and situational awareness with the least amount of training will be possible.
As the technology improves, expect for network-centric real-time systems to get smaller, smarter, and more rugged. I won’t be terribly surprised if we see TrackingPoint optics the size of today’s popular military-issue red-dots issued to deep-pocketed special operations units in 5-10 years, and then issued to regular infantry squad-leaders in front-line units, within a decade after that. Sooner or later, TrackingPoint—or a competing system that better exploits similar capabilities—will be the future of military combat.
If the military doesn’t run out of batteries, first.