For a twenty years the United States military has prided itself on owning the night. The Pentagon has invested considerable resources to field various kinds of night vision equipment for ground troops, pilots and surveillance. However, aside from the specialized sniper rifles the Army and Marine Corps has not paid a lot of attention to muzzle flash suppression. The muzzle designs of infantry weapons offer some level of performance, but given the amount of night fighting the Army and Marines have engaged in over the last ten years, dedicated muzzle suppression technology seems like an obvious area to address.
A recent Military.com article quoted an Army weapons procurement officer pointing out that the enemy's ability to shoot back suffers when they cannot see where shots are coming from. You don't say? One would assume our troops have been providing feedback on ways to improve night fighting capabilities for years so why has it taken so long to see action on this?
This blog is not intended as a complaint department, but I want the best for our troops and it seems that too many changes and improvements get swamped by bureaucratic inertia. One can look at the continuing drama regarding the new camouflage patterns. (see some of my previous posts for more on camo issue.) A common thread running through these issues seems to be to focus on big ticket technology at the expense of lower technology items needed by infantry squads.