Sniper Coordination Systems

Overview & History


Sniper Coordination Systems allow for synchronization of SF snipers, primarily during urban CT deployment, when several snipers are often required to simultaneously engage a single or multiple targets. These systems are also be effective for real-time intelligence gathering as well as post-deployment briefing, and can be used during training to observe the sniper's point of view.

Most Sniper Coordination Systems are built around three main components:

  • Scope adapter, which is attached in-front of the sniper's optic and contains a mini day/night CCD camera and a video splitter.

  • Transmitter carried by each sniper, which is connected (wired or wirelessly) to the scope adapter. Some systems use proprietary transmitters while others use third party radios, via standard interfaces like RS232.

  • Dedicated command unit which receives the feeds from the snipers' transmitters and display it to commander. The command units included a receiver, which similar to the sniper's one, could be either a proprietary or a third party unit via typical standard interfaces like RS232, pending on the system. In updated configurations, the sniper's feed could also be transmitted to more portable displays, such a helmet/head mounted display, a rugged PDA or a wrist mounted display.

Israeli companies were among the first to introduce Sniper Coordination Systems starting with Elbit Sincrofire in the mid 1980's. The Sincrofire was acquired by several Tier 1 Israeli SF units and was also sold overseas to foreign units. Few years later, the Sincrofire was disbanded but several smaller Israeli companies such as Rada, Vectop, Ortek, Eyerec and HeloPoint all attempted, though with limited success, to develop its next generation.

Two such systems which have seen limited deployment were the Ortek/Eyerec/HeloPoint Snipco, which was aimed at tactical sniper coordination, and the Rada/Vectop Sniper Witness, which was designed mostly as a training aid.

While an interesting concept in theory, Sniper Coordination Systems have encountered several challenges in real world applications:

  • Many snipers didn’t like the additional piece of electronic attached to the scope, which altered their usual firing position and required further dependence on electronics. Instead, advanced snipers tactics which deploy several snipers against a single target and emphasize a close sniper-spotter relationship, have evolved, leading to an increase in coordination and hit probability.

  • From the manufactures' point of view, the numerous SWS and sniper optics in usage required customization of the systems in order to accommodate and effectively attached to the various scopes, resulting in an ever changing business which made little sense considering the small volume involved.

One Israeli system which tried to address these issues and is currently in limited usage is the Maxtech Snipetech. Different from the previous systems, the Snipertech utilize a standalone camera used by the spotter to transmit the sniper's point of view to the commander.

With lack of interest from most end users and the unpromising business case, dedicated Sniper Coordination Systems are likely to remain in their current state of extremely limitedly adoption. Instead, some of these systems capabilities could be integrated as modules in larger scale systems such as Future Infantry Soldier platforms, and snipers' deployment was indeed tested during the IDF YATA experiment in 2005-2006.

Givati Infantry Brigade Reconnaissance Battalion sniper during the IDF testing of the YATA concept. Note HMD on the operator's left eye.

Ortek/Eyerec/HeloPoint Snipco


A successor to the Elbit Sincrofire system, the Snipco was developed by various Elbit subsidiaries in cooperation with other companies. The Snipco was a portable system for simultaneous coordination of up to eight snipers. From 2005 until it was disbanded few years later, it was rebranded as "Sniper Coordination System" or "SCS".

The system consisted of three main components:

  • Scope adapter

  • Transmitter carried by each sniper, with an optional encryption module for a secured transmission. The scope adapter was connected to the transmitter via a fiber optic cable. A wireless scope adapter was also presented but never passed prototype stage.

  • Central Command Unit, which contained a CPU, a receiver, a 15" LCD monitor and a video recorder. The operator of the CCU could choose between viewing up to 8 snipers at a time on a split screen, or viewing each sniper at a time on a full screen.

The system different elements were powered by either an internal or external power source, allowing for an extended deployment. The Snipco saw limited adoption and like most similar systems was eventually disbanded.

Snipco mounted on a M16 variant.

Snipco Central Command Unit.

An Israeli Police officer checking out the Snipco mounted on a M16 variant during a demonstration.

Demonstration of the Ortek/Eyerec/HeloPoint Snipco Sniper Coordination System. The Snipco is seen fitted on an IDF SF Mauser 86SR and transmitting the scope's video feed to a nearby wrist monitor worn by the operator in the foreground.

Rada/Vectop Sniper Witness


The Rada/Vectop Sniper Witness was a sniper training aid, which transmitted a day/night video feed of the sniper scope to a wired command & control unit, where it was viewed and recorded if required. As a wired system, the Sniper Witness was mostly applicable for stationary range training, primarily of new snipers.

The Sniper Witness consisted of two main components:

  • Mini day/night CCD camera attached to the sniper scope.

  • Command unit containing a monitor and a video recorder.

Few Sniper Witness units, known in the IDF as "Shahak", entered service in 2002 with the IDF Sniper School, but like most similar systems was eventually disbanded. A wireless version designed for tactical deployment, similar to the Snipco was also presented but never passed prototype stage.

The Sniper Witness scope adapter seen here attached to a Litton Aquila X6 NVD mounted on top of a M24, the IDF typical nighttime sniping setup.

The Sniper Witness portable command & control unit, containing a monitor and a video recorder. Also seen are two scope adapters for the IDF standard issue M24 optics - Leopold M3 10x40 and Litton Aquila X6.

Senior politicians including Ariel Sharon (then the Israeli Prime Minister) and Shaul Mofaz (then the Israeli Minister of Defense) and high-ranking IDF officers, including Moshe Ya'alon (then the IDF Chief of Staff) seen here during a visit to the IDF Sniper School. The visitors are observing a Sniper Instructor armed with a M24 fitted with the Sniper Witness.

Sniper armed with a M24 fitted with the Sniper Witness Sniper.

An IDF female sniper instructor coaching a sniper armed with a M24 fitted with a Litton Aquila X6 and a Sniper Witness during training at the IDF Sniper School (photo: IDF).

Maxtech Snipetech


Essentially the only Israeli made Sniper Coordination System still manufactured and deployed today, the Snipetech is a modernized wireless system, which differs significantly from the previous systems as it does not utilize a scope adapter attached to the sniper's scope, but is rather an interactive system operated by the spotter.

The system is made of a Sniper's Kit and a Commander's Kit:

  • The Sniper's Kit is made of a CCD camera with X36 magnification and a rugged PC featuring the Snipetech software. The computer and camera are both wired to a transmitter, which sends the video feed to the commander's kit. The sniper's kit also contains a target acquisition button for providing instant lock/unlock indication to the commander.

  • The Commander's Kit is made of rugged PC and receiver.

Due to the included rugged PC, the Snipetech is a two-way interactive system allowing the sniper team and the commander to send and receive messages, video feeds and other data, in addition to the traditional scope video feed. Additional options are a GPS module which transmits the sniper's location and a ballistic software which can be loaded into the sniper's kit rugged PC.

Maxtech Snipetech Sniper Coordination System. The three systems on the right (with the camera and tripod) are the sniper's kit, while the system on the left is the commander's kit.

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