Story and photo by Spc. Eugene H. Cushing
4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division’s Combat Observation Lasing Teams recently completed their operators’ exams for the M-1200 Armored Knight, a vehicle designed to take the COLTs wherever they need to go to accomplish their mission.
Sgt. 1st Class Jason H. Reynolds, brigade fire sup
port noncommissioned officer in charge for 4th BCT, 4th ID said the COLT’s mission is to be the brigade’s forward observers.
He said the COLTs are the furthest forward observers in the brigade. They can identify, lase and designate munitions onto enemy targets and integrate joint fires into the battle, calling support from anything in the air.
Sgt. Jeremiah W. Lovelady, a COLT chief from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th BCT, 4th ID, said the M-1200 is an armored security vehicle designed especially for forward observers.
“The last vehicle we had was an M-707 Knight,” he said. “It’s the old version of what we have now.”
Lovelady said that the M-707 Knight was a Humvee with some of the same equipment as the M-1200. The M-1200 also features equipment not previously used in the M-707.
The M-1200 has a few capabilities the M-707 did not, like being able to cross water up to 5 feet deep, according to Lovelady. The M-1200 also has a larger engine, giving it more horsepower and torque.
Lovelady said when it comes to difficult terrain that requires the vehicle to climb, the M-1200 has no problem crossing it. The armor on the M-1200 is comprised of ceramic plates, he said, compared to the Humvee which uses steel plates.
There are some differences in operating the
M-1200 compared to the M-707. Lovelady said the visibility in the M-1200 is less than that in a Humvee. The M-1200 is also angled differently, leaving blind spots. However, the vehicle was designed for this.
“If you can’t see it, it’s not going to destroy the vehicle like it would a Humvee,” he said. The vehicle was no harder to drive than a Humvee.
“It’s not so technical that it takes a lot of training,” he said. “Soldiers with a couple weeks of training could do it.”
Lovelady said the operator’s exam included land navigation using the vehicle’s GPS and plotting waypoints into the Targeting Station Control Panel.
“When you put a waypoint into the TSCP, it’s displayed on the DDU, which is the Driver’s Display Unit,” he said. “It tells him exactly where to turn, when to turn.”
The GPS ties into another improvement, the targeting station, Lovelady said. He said the new targeting station’s main component, the Fire Support Sensor Sweep, or FS-3, has black-hot and white-hot Forward Looking Infrared, as well as a day sight, which allows the operator to find and mark a target. He also said the FS-3 has a built-in GPS.
“That’s what’s so great, because the vehicle always knows where it’s at,” he said. “When he shoots direction and distance, the vehicle automatically computes that and pulls up a 10-digit grid target.”