Turn­ingT Night into Day: Elec­tro-op­ti­cal Sys­tems and Programmes

The EO sight­ing sys­tems will pro­vide all weather sur­veil­lance and tar­get­ing sights for small arms, ar­moured fight­ing ve­hi­cles (AFVs), ar­tillery guns and missile sys­tems

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

The EO sight­ing sys­tems will pro­vide all weather sur­veil­lance and tar­get­ing sights for small arms, ar­moured fight­ing ve­hi­cles (AFVs), ar­tillery guns and missile sys­tems.

ELEC­TRO–OP­TI­CAL (EO) SIGHT­ING AND sen­sors sys­tems have nu­mer­ous ap­pli­ca­tions for the Army to carry out sur­veil­lance, re­con­nais­sance, tar­get ac­qui­si­tion, tar­get en­gage­ment and missile guid­ance. The sys­tem ac­cesses in­for­ma­tion from emit­ted or re­flected en­ergy across the wave­lengths of in­frared, vis­i­ble, and ul­tra­vi­o­let light, and thus can pro­vide all weather, day and night fight­ing capabilities. The sys­tems which op­er­ate on sep­a­rate prin­ci­ple for ther­mal imag­ing and im­age en­hance­ment. Ther­mal imag­ing func­tions in the up­per re­gion of the in­fra red spec­trum whereas im­age en­hance­ment works by ac­cu­mu­lat­ing and am­pli­fy­ing minis­cule amounts of light in­clud­ing the lower end of the in­fra red spec­trum so that it is pos­si­ble to view the tar­get. Nor­mally it is the im­age en­hance­ment prod­uct which are com­monly called as Night Vi­sion De­vices (NVDs). The EO sight­ing sys­tems will pro­vide all weather sur­veil­lance and tar­get­ing sights for small arms, Ar­moured Fight­ing Ve­hi­cles (AFVs), ar­tillery guns and missile sys­tems. For AFVs first round hit prob­a­bil­ity is pro­vided by In­te­grated Fire Con­trol Sys­tem which is a fully com­put­erised fire con­trol sys­tem, mainly con­sist­ing of sta­bilised day/night sight­ing sys­tem (s), laser range finder (LRF) with an in­te­grated bal­lis­tic com­puter. This sys­tem fa­cil­i­tates ac­quir­ing, lock­ing and en­gage­ment of mov­ing tar­gets by means of man­ual/au­to­matic track­ing, while own tank it­self is on the move. The con­cept of first round hit ca­pa­bil­ity is also ap­plied to ar­tillery sys­tems by pro­vid­ing ac­cu­rate tar­get data by the for­ward ob­ser­va­tion post (FOP)of­fi­cer through bet­ter elec­tro-op­ti­cal and ge­o­graphic in­for­ma­tion sys­tem (GIS) sys­tems.

Ther­mal Imagers

Ther­mal Imager (TI) works on the prin­ci­pal that all ob­jects emit a cer­tain amount of ra­di­a­tion as a func­tion of their tem­per­a­ture/emis­siv­ity. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, the higher an ob­ject’s tem­per­a­ture, the more IR ra­di­a­tion it emits. A TI can thus de­tect this ra­di­a­tion in a way sim­i­lar to an or­di­nary cam­era does for vis­i­ble light. It works even in to­tal dark­ness be­cause am­bi­ent light level does not mat­ter. With the recent ad­vance­ment and rapid devel­op­ment of IR de­tec­tors, it has be­come pos­si­ble to carry out sur­veil­lance and tar­get ac­qui­si­tion dur­ing night; sim­i­lar to day­light hours. TIs have be­come the pri­mary choice of de­fence forces for their weapon sights and sur­veil­lance equip­ment.

TI cam­era

A TI cam­era mainly con­sists of an op­ti­cal sys­tem, IR de­tec­tor ,am­pli­fier and sig­nal pro­cess­ing elec­tron­ics which can be seen on a dis­play unit as the IR is con­verted into vis­i­ble light. Most com­monly used form of TI cam­era is Hand Held Ther­mal Imager (HHTI) which is nor­mally based on cooled de­tec­tors and can see a group of persons at around 2.5 Km. Cooled TIs are also used as ther­mal sight for medium range weapons, Fire Con­trol Sys­tem (FCS) and sur­veil­lance sys­tem. TIs based on un-cooled de­tec­tors, which are gen­er­ally cheaper, are used for short range ap­pli­ca­tions. Gim­baled pay­loads with TI and other sen­sors have be­come very pop­u­lar for var­i­ous ap­pli­ca­tions for UAVs, he­li­copters, AFVs etc as it pro­vides sta­bi­liza­tion for a mov­ing plat­form.

Laser Range Finder (LRF)

Ac­cu­rate range to the tar­get is an es­sen­tial pa­ram­e­ter for engaging the tar­get for which LRF has be­come an key de­vice as it is very ac­cu­rate. It works on the ba­sic prin­ci­ple of emit­ting a laser beam which gets re­flected from the tar­get. A high speed clock then mea­sures the time taken for the laser beam to reach the tar­get and re­turn to the emit­ter. This time is con­verted into range which can be seen ac­cu­rately or di­rectly fed into the bal­lis­tic com­puter. Thus LRFs have be­come an es­sen­tial part of any FCS or to carry out ar­tillery sur­vey.

Elec­tro-op­ti­cal Sys­tem Pro­grammes­some ex­am­ples L3 TECH­NOLO­GIES (BNVD)-1531.

L3 War­rior Sen­sor Sys­tem’s Binoc­u­lar Night Vi­sion De­vice (BNVD)-1531 com­bines key fea­tures of the AN/PVS-15 and AN/PVS-31 night vi­sion gog­gles in a smaller, light­weight so­lu­tion which in­cor­po­rates fea­tures such as ad­justable diopters, man­ual gain ad­just­ment, in­di­vid­u­ally ro­tat­ing monoc­u­lars and an in­te­grated in­frared il­lu­mi­na­tor; all of which en­hance sit­u­a­tional aware­ness, en­abling op­er­a­tors to con­duct mis­sions more ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently.


AN/PAS-13B Ther­mal Weapons Sight (TWS).

AN/PAS-13B is an ad­vanced IR weapon sight de­vel­oped by the US Army and Raytheon. The com­bat-proven AN/PAS13B com­bines rugged, light­weight, mod­u­lar con­struc­tion with su­pe­rior TI tech­nol­ogy to give to­day’s war fighter the abil­ity to shoot equally well day or night, sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing sur­viv­abil­ity and lethal­ity mar­gins on the 21st cen­tury bat­tle­field.

TOW ITAS. ITAS in­creases tar­get de­tec­tion, ac­qui­si­tion, recog­ni­tion and en­gage­ment ranges; fires all ver­sions of the TOW missile from both the M41 ground launcher and the M1121 high mo­bil­ity mul­tipur­pose wheeled ve­hi­cle plat­form. It can also be in­te­grated with fu­ture mis­siles sys­tems. The ITAS in­cludes a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion FLIR, an eye safe LRF and other dig­i­tal com­po­nents which in­crease de­tec­tion and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion ranges by a fac­tor of 2X, in­creas­ing the prob­a­bil­ity of hit over the ex­ist­ing TOW 2.


Spi­der Ar­tillery Fire Man­age­ment Sys­tem (FMS).

This is a sen­sor to shooter, fully in­te­grated dig­i­tal FMS which au­to­mates the en­tire fir­ing chain start­ing from the For­ward Ob­server who des­ig­nates the tar­get, down to the weapon plat­form, through the fire sup­port’s as­sess­ment and co­or­di­na­tion lev­els, which re­sults in ac­cu­rate fir­ing, tar­get ef­fec­tive­ness and short re­ac­tion time which is es­sen­tial for ar­tillery to be ef­fec­tive in bat­tle. Au­ton­o­mous mod­u­lar ther­mal cam­eras. Th­ese cam­eras pro­vide op­ti­mum vi­su­al­iza­tion of tar­gets for missile launch­ing and di­rect fire.

Tar­get des­ig­na­tion. Tar­get des­ig­na­tion re­quire­ments are pro­vided with por­ta­ble point­ing and tar­get ac­qui­si­tion sys­tems such as Go­nioLight and Sterna, and its missile guid­ance solutions.


It is clip-on ther­mal sight which is small and light­weight and de­signed to fit com­fort­ably in front of the op­ti­cal day sight for 24-hour weapon sight­ing ap­pli­ca­tions. The SNIPE-IR’s NO-SHOT ZERO fea­ture makes it sim­ple to ver­ify bore sight when at­tached. It of­fers easy sight-in in­te­gra­tion for ac­cu­rate cal­i­bra­tions with the 4x32 ACOG® and 3x and 4x day optics, as well as a large range of vari­able ri­fle sights.

Trijicon IR-PA­TROL®. For mis­sions such as search­ing for a sus­pect or se­cur­ing your po­si­tion, the Trijicon IR-PA­TROL® is the ideal mul­tipur­pose ther­mal imag­ing monoc­u­lar. It’s com­pact, light­weight, rugged and of­fers some of the most ad­vanced per­for­mance options on the mar­ket—such as Mi­croIR™ 640x480 12 Sen­sor and 640x480 dig­i­tal OLED Dis­play—for a clear, sharp im­age. The sys­tem can be hand­held, hel­met-mounted or ri­fle-mounted IR PA­TROL sys­tem.


HAM­MER (Hand­held Az­imuth Mea­sur­ing, Mark­ing, Elec­tro-op­tic imag­ing and Rang­ing) Sys­tem.

This is a light­weight pre­ci­sion tar­get­ing so­lu­tion. The sys­tem en­ables dis­mounted For­ward Ob­servers and Joint Ter­mi­nal At­tack Con­trollers to rapidly iden­tify, pre­cisely lo­cate, and ac­cu­rately mark tar­gets for pre­ci­sion Global Po­si­tion­ing Sys­tem guided and laser-guided mu­ni­tions. It works in all weather and light­ing con­di­tions, and trans­mits tar­get­ing data to ex­ist­ing for­ward en­try sys­tems. A vari­ant of the HAM­MER pre­ci­sion tar­get­ing sys­tem is cur­rently being re­fined and qual­i­fied in the en­gi­neer­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing devel­op­ment phase of the U.S. Army’s Joint Ef­fects Tar­get­ing Sys­tem (JETS) pro­gramme.


BEL Op­tronic De­vices Limited. This is a sub­sidiary com­pany of BEL. It has been es­tab­lished for con­duct­ing re­search, devel­op­ment and man­u­fac­ture of Im­age In­ten­si­fier Tubes and as­so­ci­ated high volt­age Power Sup­ply Units for use in mil­i­tary, se­cu­rity and com­mer­cial sys­tems.

IRDE (DRDO). IRDE de­vel­ops a whole range of EO-FCSs for AFVs and naval ships. Some sys­tems are TI based Sur­veil­lance Sys­tems (stand­alone and plat­form mounted); LRF, Des­ig­na­tors, Seek­ers and Prox­im­ity Sen­sors; Holo­graphic Sight and Sur­veil­lance Sys­tems.

Al­pha De­sign Tech­nolo­gies. Al­pha De­sign Tech­nolo­gies Pvt Ltd., has been es­tab­lished with a view to put into ac­tion “MAKE IN IN­DIA” pol­icy of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia. AL­PHA spe­cialises in R&D, man­u­fac­ture, as­sem­bly, test­ing, qual­i­fi­ca­tion, in­te­gra­tion & in­stal­la­tion of De­fence Elec­tron­ics, Avion­ics & Space Satel­lites sys­tems. It has a Joint Ven­ture with El­bit of Is­rael and has tied up with Adani Aero De­fence Sys­tems which is a part of the Gau­tam Adaniled group.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: Trijicon

Trijicon IR-PA­TROL Ther­mal Monoc­u­lar

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