The forward observer is typically provided with tripod-mounted sensors that include day/night observation devices, a laser rangefinder or laser rangefinder/designator and a navigation capability.
At Indo Defence, Samsung Thales is exhibiting its TAS 21 (Target Acquisition System 21), which is a complete target location and intelligence gathering system. The tripod-mounted system includes a thermal camera with a vehicle detection range of up to 5km, a laser rangefinder with a magnification of x5 and a maximum detection range of 10km, goniometer and power supply. The goniometer includes a digital magnetic compass, which provides accurate azimuth and elevation information.
Another alternative is the Panop HH (Hand Held), which weighs only 2.2kg. This includes an uncooled thermal imager, day sight, eye-safe laser rangefinder and global positioning system.
Once targets are detected, this information is sent to the fire direction system, which has its own internal GPS and 15in flat-panel display. This also receives information for other sources such as weather conditions that can have a significant effect on artillery projectiles.
The fire direction system can also receive inputs from a higher chain of command.
Ballistic calculations are then performed for the various launchers and target information is sent to the platform via a tactical radio and displayed on a man-portable computer.
The target is then engaged using the correct munition to neutralise the threat; once the target has been successfully engaged, this is reported back to the fire direction system. The forward observer can then carry out a post-target engagement battle damage assessment.
According to Samsung Thales, AFDAS can be adapted for use with any radio and its open architecture allows greater operational flexibility.