Night into Day with Night Vi­sion De­vices

In­stant sit­u­a­tional aware­ness of the area of op­er­a­tions is a do or die ne­ces­sity for a sol­dier

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - Lt Gen­eral Naresh Chand (Retd)

In­stant sit­u­a­tional aware­ness of the area of op­er­a­tions is a do or die ne­ces­sity for a sol­dier

ASOL­DIER HAS TO op­er­ate by day or night in highly chal­leng­ing and dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. Thus in­stant sit­u­a­tional aware­ness of the area of op­er­a­tions is a do or die ne­ces­sity for a sol­dier. Night vi­sion is the abil­ity to see in the dark which is pos­si­ble by biological or tech­no­log­i­cal means with a com­bi­na­tion of ad­e­quate spec­tral and in­ten­sity range. Tech­nol­ogy based on ther­mal imag­ing, in­frared and laser is mak­ing rapid strides to en­able the sol­dier to dom­i­nate the dark­ness by quickly de­tect­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing and then de­stroy­ing the tar­get. Such sys­tems are called night vi­sion de­vices (NVDs) and are now com­monly used by all armed forces and se­cu­rity agen­cies. NVDs were first used in World War II and since then the tech­nol­ogy has evolved man­i­fold, pro­vid­ing im­proved and bet­ter ca­pa­bil­ity. They have many ap­pli­ca­tions like rang­ing, ob­ser­va­tion, point­ing and aim­ing. There are clip on NVDs which can be em­ployed with weapons and hel­mets. NVDs are of two types: im­age in­ten­si­fiers (II) and ther­mal im­agers (TI). Im­age in­ten­si­fiers are more common as they use small amount of am­bi­ent light. TIs can be near IR, mid IR and ther­mal IR. The dif­fer­ence be­tween ther­mal im­ager and the other two is that ther­mal im­ager IR is re­flected by an ob­ject in­stead re­flected from it. Company-wise prod­ucts are given in suc­ceed­ing para­graphs:

DRS

DRS’ Ther­mal Weapon Sights al­low sol­diers to see deep into the bat­tle­field en­hanc­ing surveil­lance and tar­get ac­qui­si­tion – even when vis­i­bil­ity is vir­tu­ally zero.

MX-2A Multi-use Minia­ture Ther­mal Im­ager. Uti­liz­ing DRS’ 320 x 240, 25 mi­cron vana­dium ox­ide (VOx) tech­nol­ogy, this high­per­for­mance ther­mal imag­ing hand­held cam­era is ideal for gen­eral re­con­nais­sance, surveil­lance, and se­cu­rity pa­trol in the field. It al­lows users to see long ranges and pro­vides a clear ther­mal im­age through dust, smoke, light fog and com­plete dark­ness.

MX-3A Rugged Ther­mal Im­ager. The MX-3A Rugged Ther­mal Im­ager is the ul­ti­mate in hand­held ther­mal imag­ing sys­tems. It uses highly sen­si­tive DRS 640 x 480, 25 mi­cron un­cooled VOx de­tec­tor tech­nol­ogy to de­liver crys­tal-clear imag­ing through dust, smoke, light fog and com­plete dark­ness. The re­sult is a ther­mal im­ager of­fer­ing un­par­al­leld per­for­mance in a flex­i­ble, com­pact pack­age.

17-Mi­cron Light Weapon Ther­mal Sight (LWTS). LWTS em­ploys 17 μm de­tec­tor pitch, un­cooled ther­mal imag­ing tech­nol­ogy. The 17-mi­cron LWTS pro­vides a clear ther­mal im­age of tar­get in­for­ma­tion through dust, smoke, light fog, and com­plete dark­ness. Fur­nished with a 640 x 480 fo­cal plane ar­ray, the LWTS of­fers long wave in­frared de­tec­tion in a low weight pack­age with an op­er­at­ing time of up to 10 hours at 77°F. It has 2X dig­i­tal zoom and RS-170 real time video in/out re­mote view­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and clip on and stand alone ther­mal ca­pa­bil­ity.

FLIR Sys­tems

They of­fer many prod­ucts for bor­der se­cu­rity and coastal surveil­lance like HRC se­ries TI cam­eras, Thermo Vi­sion 2000/3000 and so on. HRC se­ries uses a de­tec­tor in­dium an­ti­monide (InSb) or mer­cury cad­mium Tel­luride (MCT): 640 x 480 pix­els, spec­tral range of 3 to 5 μm with a field of view of 12.5 x con­tin­u­ous zoom and four pre­set po­si­tions and video pre­sen­ta­tion in PAL/NTSC. HRC se­ries in­clude E,S,U and X. HRC se­ries also has multi-sen­sor sys­tems with ac­cu­racy of 1 mrad and res­o­lu­tion of 0.1 mrad. Avail­able op­tions are laser range finder, geo-po­si­tion­ing dig­i­tal mag­netic com­pass and au­to­matic video tracker in­clud­ing e-stab.

Vec­tronix

Sterna. Vec­tronix is a global leader in sta­teof-the-art op­tronic equip­ment, sys­tems and sen­sors for mil­i­tary and civil ap­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing hand­held laser rangefind­ers and night vi­sion de­vices, tri­pod mounted ori­en­ta­tion and po­si­tion­ing sys­tems and sen­sor mod­ules. Sterna is a non-mag­netic, pre­ci­sion tar­get lo­ca­tion/tar­get ac­qui­si­tion sys­tem which is typ­i­cally a CAT-1 sys­tem at 1.5 km. Troops are less ex­posed due to Sterna’s first round, fire for ef­fect ca­pa­bil­ity. Sol­diers can now ef­fec­tively use dumb bombs as eas­ily as laser guided bombs to re­duce the amount of ex­po­sure, while sav­ing lives, rounds, and time in bat­tle. It pro­vides true north ca­pa­bil­i­ties vir­tu­ally in any en­vi­ron­ment and all-weather con­di­tions. It is an ul­tra­light, man-por­ta­ble sys­tem which is <4 kg (<9 lbs). It is man­portable thus en­ables the sol­dier to move at the same pace as his dis­mounted team. It is mod­u­lar in con­struc­tion and the sys­tem can be con­fig­ured as per the mis­sion like:

Sterna-M. This is most light­weight and suit­able for close air support.

Sterna-V. This is a per­for­mance up­grade for all mis­sions with the well-proven Vec­tor. Bril­liant op­tics and far range join a non-mag­netic high pre­ci­sion az­imuth

PHO­TO­GRAPH: PHOTONIS

The Photonis Group is a global business serv­ing the photo-sen­sor tech­nol­ogy needs of world lead­ing

cus­tomers in the ar­eas of night vi­sion, in­dus­try and sci­ence and med­i­cal imag­ing

PHO­TO­GRAPH: EX­ELIS

Ex­elis AN/PVS-14 night vi­sion gog­gle

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