The US Air Force (USAF) has partnered with Battle Sight Technologies to develop a new tool for air force operations in the form of the CrayTac chem light infrared tactical crayon.
The crayon will replace the old system of glow sticks that are single-use and take up space in the warfighter’s kit.
Chem lights are an important tool for the USAF, used for activities such as directing aircraft and marking routes and positions by splashing the chemical onto a surface.
Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) scientist Dr Larry Brott reduced the size of the glow sticks by microencapsulating the chem light, in which “tiny particles or liquid material are coated with a continuous film or polymeric material”, according to the USAF. When crushed, the crayon-like capsule emits fluorescent light. The CrayTac chem light is both cheaper than single-use glow sticks and can be used thousands of times.
The AFRL gave exclusive manufacturing rights to Battle Sight for the CrayTac chem light. Battle Sight president Nick Ripplinger said: “What Battle Sight brings to the table is being able to manufacture this at scale to get this into the hands of the warfighter in the quickest way possible.
“We have some units in the field right now, mostly with the special operations community, and we are working on getting this out to the masses.”