Concepts & Programs HomeProgramsFocus Area 4: Modernization & TechnologyPart 1: Equipping the MarineSTS
SQUAD THERMAL SYSTEM (STS)

Description
The STS will be a lightweight monocular thermal imager that can be handheld or clipped onto the M16A4 Service Rifle and carbines in the M4 series. In weapon mounted configurations the STS will function with the AN/PVQ-31 Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) and when paired with the RCO, will provide the operator the capability of recognizing man-sized moving targets out to a minimum range of 300 meters (700 meters is the goal) under atmospheric conditions providing 4.35 miles of visibility. The STS will weigh no more than 1.31 pounds, which includes all components necessary to operate the system. In the handheld configuration, the STS shall present at least a 16° horizontal field of view to the user; when mounted, a remote control which allows for field calibration (NUC); polarity selection, and detector gain and level adjustments without accessing a menu. The STS shall be operable for at least 2 hours per battery at a temperature of 32°F and will be operable within 5 seconds of turning the system on. Tools will not be needed to attach the system to the weapon once the initial weapon matching adjustments have been performed.

Operational Impact
The STS will be utilized throughout the range of military operations in which Marines are employed, from Humanitarian Assistance and Peacekeeping, through Counter-terrorism and Counterinsurgency, to Military Operations Other Than War and full-scale war.

Marines will be better able to detect and recognize potential targets, danger areas, indicators of surface laid Improvised Explosive Device (IEDs) and items of interest in low light as well as all other lighting conditions. Since 2012, Marines have had to carry two separate devices to satisfy the requirement for thermal imaging in weapon-mounted and handheld configurations. The fielding of one device that is optimized to function in both modes leads to an overall weight-savings for the individual Marine and also reduces the logistical burden and support. Within the different warfighting mission areas, the STS will contribute to the effectiveness of Marine Corps operating forces by enhancing battlefield visibility, enhance the collection of combat information, and expand security to the force through advanced detection of threats at extended ranges, providing friendly forces with greater time to establish effective defensive postures.

Program Status
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is planned for November 2019 and Full Operational Capability (FOC) is planned for September 2022. The IOC will be achieved when one infantry battalion and reconnaissance company per Marine Expeditionary Force is fielded their STS systems, and the assigned maintenance personnel and operators have received initial training. FOC will occur when the STS is fielded to the Approved Acquisition Objective of 3,859 systems.

Procurement Profile:

FY 2018 QTY 0
FY 2019 QTY 1,640

Developer/Manufacturer: The Marine Corps is leveraging the U.S. Army’s Family of Weapon Sights-Individual thermal weapon sight contract, currently awarded to BAE and DRS. In FY2018, the Marine Corps is evaluating both vendors’ systems and will select one system as the Squad Thermal System materiel solution.

Modernization and Technology