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AN/VLQ-7 Stingray

The Stingray, which can be employed on the battlefield as an adjunct direct-fire system mounted on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle [CFV and BFV], is a prototype combat protection system under development to enhance survivability against enemy optical devices. The Stingray can counter multiple ground and aerial weapons under almost all battlefield conditions by detecting and jamming enemy optical sighting systems before the weapons can be fired. The Stingray provides a low energy countermeasure to disrupt the threat fire control systems and provide enhanced survivability for the host vehicle. Two demonstrator systems were deployed to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, but were never used. Demonstrator models are currently housed on Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Current fielding plans will assign three Stingrays to each scout platoon equipped with the Bradley CFV. There is no current fielding plan for HMMWV-equipped scout platoons.

CAPABILITIES AND OPERATION

The Stingray can operate in automatic, semiautomatic, or manual modes. The mode of operation depends on the control measures required to protect friendly forces and to obtain the maximum effect on enemy systems. The following conditions apply:

On the battlefield, the Stingray is controlled in the same manner as other direct-fire weapons. It is assigned a sector of fire within the platoon. Stingray sectors are included on the CFV range card, and restrictions on the Stingray mode of operation are noted in the range card remarks section. The platoon leader employs the system in accordance with the commander's intent and plan. The Stingray normally operates in the automatic or semiautomatic mode, but some situations will require use of the manual mode. This information is included in the commander's OPORD to the platoon leader.

OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS

Stingray-equipped BFVs will assist in protecting the force by overwatching, identifying, and jamming threat optics. In the attack, they can be employed in both the supporting and main attack role. Upon consolidation or reorganization, Stingray-equipped BFVs should be positioned on the most likely avenues of approach to assist in detecting and defeating threat sighting systems.

Movement to Contact. During movement, the Stingray should be employed within the platoon formation to provide maximum protection to the platoon. It can be linked with other Stingrays to provide overlapping sectors of coverage. The Stingray can be employed with the overwatch or bounding element during bounding overwatch. In the overwatch, Stingrays operate in the semiautomatic mode to detect the presence of enemy without jamming. On engagement by the enemy, the Stingray can switch to the automatic mode to jam threat systems. Stingrays can operate in the semiautomatic mode when employed with the bounding element, and can be placed in the automatic mode to detect and jam threat systems on contact with the enemy.

Attack. In the attack, Stingray-equipped BFVs can be employed with the support-by-fire and assaulting elements.

In the support-by-fire element, Stingrays can be positioned and employed initially as in the overwatch element. On order of the platoon leader, the Stingray can be placed in the automatic mode to suppress targets on the objective. Then, it shifts to another sector to isolate the objective during the maneuver element's assault on the objective.

During a mounted assault, Stingrays can be positioned and employed as in the bounding element. Stingrays are oriented to the vehicle gun line, operating in the automatic mode to detect and jam enemy sights while the crew fights their onboard systems.

During consolidation on the objective, Stingrays are assigned sectors to cover the most critical enemy avenues of approach. During this time, the Stingray operates in the automatic mode.

DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS

Stingray-equipped BFVs are positioned to take advantage of observation and fields of fire on the most critical avenues of approach to detect and jam targets beyond the normal engagement ranges for threat direct-fire weapons. Platoon Stingray-equipped BFVs are employed as a part of the company defense to protect exposed flanks, unprotected rear, or forward to provide early warning. Stingrays could also be part of a detachment left in contact.

The Stingray initially operates in the manual mode while the covering force and screening elements are forward in the security area. It is assigned sectors that will not interfere with the covering force's withdrawal. Once the covering force passes through, the Stingray operates in the semiautomatic mode until contact is made with the enemy. On contact, the Stingray switches to the automatic mode.

During a counterattack, the Stingray is employed and operated in the same manner as in the attack.

RECONNAISSANCE

During reconnaissance operations, Stingray vehicles should be employed on the flanks and forward of the platoon to provide maximum protection. They can be linked with each other to provide overlapping sectors of coverage. During movement, the Stingrays are employed with the overwatch element. Prior to the movement of the bounding element, they sweep the area in the semiautomatic mode to detect the presence of enemy forces without jamming their systems. On engagement by the enemy, the Stingray can switch to the automatic mode to jam threat systems. If necessary, Stingrays can be employed with the bounding element, although this is not the most effective use of the system. In the bounding element, the Stingray operates in the semiautomatic mode. Upon contact, it is placed in the automatic mode to detect and jam threat systems.

SECURITY

Because of their ability to detect enemy optics, Stingray-equipped platoons can routinely perform screen missions. One Stingray-equipped CFV should be employed with each OP. The CFV moves to a hull-down position and sweeps the area under observation in the automatic mode. Once the area is cleared, the CFV returns to a hide position. At irregular intervals, the Stingray vehicle returns to a hull-down position and checks the area to ensure that OPs are not under enemy observation. The Stingray can also be employed as a redundant system (similar to GSR) to provide maximum area coverage along the screen line to detect any enemy approach. Stingrays operate in the semiautomatic mode during these missions; however, they can most effectively avoid detection when operated in the manual mode.

RETROGRADE OPERATIONS

Stingray-equipped platoons perform retrograde operations as part of a larger force. In retrograde operations, the platoon participates in either a withdrawal under pressure or a withdrawal not under pressure. A withdrawal under pressure is conducted the same as a covering force withdrawal back through the MBA. A withdrawal not under pressure is conducted when the platoon or force is not in contact with the enemy. A detachment left in contact remains in position while the remainder of the platoon or company withdraws. The DLIC Stingray operates in the automatic mode, and the Stingray in the withdrawing platoon or force operates in the semiautomatic mode with an additional sector oriented toward the expected enemy approach. As the DLIC starts to withdraw, the remainder of the platoon or force provides overwatching fires to cover the DLIC's withdrawal.

The PM NV/RSTA has initiated a Time and Materials Requirements Contract with Lockheed Martin, Orlando, FL to support Stingray. Contractor will repair/reinspect systems prior to delivery, provide specified Stingray spare parts and repair/refurbish, as necessary.


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