Garmin military-grade Fortex GPS units keep data out of enemy hands
Garmin has released two wrist-mounted tactical GPS navigators that can not only make complex ballistic calculations for rifle shooters, but come with Stealth and Kill Switch features to prevent location data from falling into the wrong hands.
GPS receivers have come a long way from when they just told you where you are on a digital map and not much else. Today, receivers not only boast a wide range of options when it comes to functions, but are often tailored to specific customers – some of whom have requirements that the average hiker would never consider.
Garmin's new Foretrex 801 and 901 Ballistic Edition are designed for competitive Precision Rifle Series (PRS) and Extreme Long Range (ELR) outdoor sport shooters, tactical squads, and ground troops who need a rugged multi-band receiver with a substantial battery life, enhanced navigation features, and the ability to handle complex ballistic calculations.
The pair of devices have a battery life based on field-replaceable AAA batteries, offering 100 hours in their default tracking mode and up to 1,000 hours in expedition mode where the screen and most of the sensors are switched off. Inside the hardened case is a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis compass, and a barometric altimeter as well as electronics capable of receiving signals from multiple sat nav constellations.
The 2.2-in display is monochromatic, simple to understand, and can be read using night-vision goggles. The units can also be paired with compatible smartphones to allow users to download routes and waypoints to their units with or without Wi-Fi or cellular service and can send and receive texts and emails. It can also pair with Garmin's inReach device, which allows users to send interactive SOS signals.
For shooters, the Foretrex units are loaded with Garmin's Applied Ballistics (AB) solver AB Synapse, which uses ballistic information such as muzzle velocity, windage, drop of trajectory, and many others to allow marksmen to hit their target with increased precision.
But the party pieces of the Foretrex line are the Stealth and Kill Switch features. When in Stealth, the Foretrex units will only collect distance data, but not location – even if location data is uploaded. This will prevent any hostiles from gaining useful intelligence if the unit is lost. When the Kill Switch is activated, it sets the unit back to factory settings to make sure any saved data is immediately erased.
"Foretrex is an essential piece of kit for adventurers, tactical personnel and competitive rifle enthusiasts who need robust, dedicated features that can be quickly accessed while keeping their hands free," said Dan Bartel, Garmin Vice President of Global Consumer Sales. "Now with enhanced positional accuracy and dedicated features for special applications, the Foretrex 801 and 901 will be indispensable tools whether on assignment or at your next competition."
The Foretrex 801 sells for US$249.99 and the Foretrex 901 is priced at US$599.99.
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