The M-41 SABER uses a thermal imager based on a Standard Advanced Dewar Assembly (SADA II) focal plane array, eyesafe laser rangefinder, and a gunner-aided target tracker. This improves the target recognition range, performance and the hit probability. The advanced digital fire control computer provides missile tracking, target tracking, embedded training and even growth capability as demonstrated by the 2002 firing of a Javelin missile using this system. The SABER can also be used as a reconnaissance aid. During one National Training Center (NTC) rotation, 82d Airborne Division soldiers could see movement beyond 10 kilometers, distinguish between tracked and wheeled vehicles at 8 kilometers, and identify vehicle types and dismounts at 5 kilometers using their ITAS sights. The 82nd Airborne's brigade combat team (BCT) commander used this capability to determine the disposition and intent of his opposing force. Soldiers have also been able to acquire targets in thick vegetation such as that at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), and again determine the opposing force's intent and set the tone of the battle to come. The acid test came during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where ITAS has been used to similar effect in urban warfare and was the sighting system used to kill the Hussain brothers.
The Saber is designed to provide improved target acquisition and fire control for the TOW 2 Ground Launcher and the TOW 2 mounted on the High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). The Saber contains an integrated Target Acquisition System (TAS), Fire Control System (FCS), modified Traversing Unit (TU), Far Target Locator (FTL), and a power source (LBB) for dismount operation.
Target Acquisition System (TAS)
The TAS consists of a second generation forward looking infrared (FLIR) night vision sight (NVS) to serve as both a target acquisition device and missile and target tracking sensor; direct view optics (DVO); missile xenon beacon tracker (XBT); eye-safe laser rangefinder (LRF), and display and controls.
Fire Control System (FCS)
The FCS is a rugged, man-portable fire control computer which provides the Saber required functions of automatic target tracking, missile tracking, and TOW missile guidance. Additional functions include: automatic boresight, embedded training, and advanced built-in test capability.
Traversing Unit (TU)
The TU is mounted on a pedestal when installed in the HMMWV and on a tripod with the ground dismounted system. The TU is used to aim and launch a TOW missile to a designated target. The TU is capable of pitching up or down, or being rotated 360º in azimuth. The TAS mounts to the side of the TU; the FCS connects to the TU through the 2W1 coil cable. All TAS and fire control related controls, except for the TAS mode, are located on the TU handgrips. System functions displayed on the TAS menu are accessed through switches on the TU handgrips.
Lithium-Ion Power Source (LPS)
The LPS consists of the Lithium-Ion Battery Box (LBB) and a Vehicle Mounted Charger (VMC). The LBB contains a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery pack consisting of 16 Lithium-Ion cells connected in a series/parallel configuration and control electronic circuitry. When mounted on a HMMWV, the LBB receives charging power from the VMC and provides battery power to the Saber system. When the Saber is in its ground tripod tactical dismounted configuration, the LBB is removed from the HMMWV and the internal LBB batteries are used to power the Saber. The LBB provides RS-422 interface for
communication between the LPS and the SABER.
The tripod provides a steady ground mount for the Saber.
Precision Attitude Determination Subsystem (PADS)
Provides system and target location readings through GPS capabilities.
Lithium-Ion AC Charger (LIAC)
The LIAC is a facility-portable AC charger used in a support environment for providing charging power to the LBB upon command. The LIAC contains AC-DC converters, DC-DC converters, filtering and control electronics circuitry. The LIAC operates from a commercial 110 or 220, ± 10 VAC, 50/60 Hz, input power source. The LIAC cannot supply power directly to the Saber
The launch tube holds the encased missile and provides mechanical guidance for initial missile launch. This item is the same component as used by the original M220 TOW system.