Ty Blanchard was leading a U.S. Special Forces team, securing a small village in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, when gunfire erupted and one of his men went down. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of a figure escaping and circling back to flank and attack. He had to act fast.
Blanchard's gun was equipped with a dual-field-of-view ELCAN optical sight. He switched his view from 1x close-quarters mode to 4x long-range engagement, suppressed the enemy fire with his own and sent the attackers fleeing, allowing him to move his team out safely.
“Being able to engage at the weapon’s maximum effective range accurately – even just being able to get them to put their heads down – saved our guys’ lives,” said Blanchard. He served more than 26 years in the U.S. Army, is now in the Army National Guard and is a senior manager for Land Warfare Systems at Raytheon Missiles and Defense, one of the four businesses that form Raytheon Technologies.
That was in 2015. Made in Canada by Raytheon ELCAN (a Raytheon Technologies subsidiary), the ELCAN Specter dual-role and fixed magnification sights have since been improved, with their weight reduced by 15%, battery life extended by 50% and the introduction of a new, low profile illumination switch. New options include a Picatinny rail on top of the sight integrated into the housing, an internal laser filter and an ambidextrous throw lever.
The dual-role sight is also available with 1.5-6x magnification and more than 50 custom ballistic reticles to meet changing, unpredictable mission requirements, including custom reticles for mounted and dismounted machine guns.
“The Specter DR is just hard to beat,” said Todd Pace, a former Army Ranger and now technical sales manager for ELCAN Specter sights. “The large eye box provides the ability to shoot from alternate positions, the simplicity decreases training time, and the durability makes it an exceptional option on both carbine and machine gun platforms”.
The ELCAN Specter DR sight allows a shooter to switch instantly from one magnification to another without having to fine-tune or adjust focus or correct head position. It offers extended eye relief and both-eyes-open capability so a user can react to changing conditions.
Today, hundreds of thousands of ELCAN Specter sights are fielded with NATO and allied forces around the world, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Italy and Germany.
“It was our go-to sight for every guy on the team,” said Blanchard. The Green Beret has used Raytheon sights all over the world, from the jungles of Asia-Pacific to the deserts of the Middle East and the mountain ranges of Afghanistan.
While some sighting systems were developed for commercial use and later adapted to military operations, the ELCAN Specter sighting systems were designed with combat operations in mind.
“The reliability of it,” said Blanchard. “You just can’t beat it.”