In Battlefield 4, the Recon class has a number of laser designator gadget options available. From the base game, a recon has the Portable Laser Designator (PLD) and the Special Operations Forces Laser Marker (SOFLAM). With the release of China Rising DLC, DICE has added the Small Unmanned Air Vehicle (SUAV) to the recon’s gadget list.
The PLD is a starting gadget for the recon class. The PLD uses thermal imaging to spot targets, and will laser designate vehicles closest to the center of its sight within a range of approximately 300 meters. It is a portable gadget, allowing the player to use it on the move, but requires the lock be maintained for laser designation, meaning the recon must be exposed to enemy sight to operate effectively. The PLD has 1x and 3x zoom levels, switched using the accessory toggle key (“T” by default on the PC). Because the PLD does not have a visible laser or scope glare, it is also useful to the recon as a spotting tool and rangefinder.
The SOFLAM is a deployable laser designator that was also available to the recon class in Battlefield 3. In Battlefield 4, the SOFLAM is unlocked with a cumulative recon class score of 66,000 points. The player deploys the SOFLAM at a good vantage point, and is then able to operate it remotely to position the device’s point of view. Once set, the SOFLAM will automatically laser designate enemy vehicles within its point of view up to a range of approximately 500 meters. The SOFLAM uses a visible laser and can be spotted and destroyed by enemies. As a deployable gadget, it can also be spotted and destroyed by an enemy MAV. The advantage of the SOFLAM is the player’s ability to deploy the gadget and continue moving with the squad while it automatically designates. Because of the remote control capability, the player can access it from anywhere to reposition its point of view or to use it for spotting.
The China Rising DLC introduced a new laser designating device in the SUAV. The SUAV is a Small Unmanned Air Vehicle flown remotely by the recon. To unlock the SUAV, one must complete the Safe Raiding assignment, which requires the player to first reach rank 10, and then complete one kill using the bombing raid accessible on the four China Rising maps. The SUAV uses a monochromatic camera with a simple flight and targeting overlay. In the lower right, it has a battery indicator; the SUAV will remain in flight until the battery is depleted. Targets are locked by centering them in the camera. The player controls the SUAV’s up/down/left/right direction of flight, but the gadget flies at one continuous speed. The advantage of the SUAV is its ability to track and follow moving targets behind cover and at ranges distant from the player’s location. The SUAV can be used to roadkill enemies, but it will be destroyed upon impact.