Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA July-August 2017 Contents is among the lightest and smallest monoculars in
the world. The XACT NV32 capitalises on all the
advantages of its predecessors without compromising
on performance. Elbit also supply the Mini N/SEAS
system – a modular, head/helmet/weapon mountable
and water-submersible night vision monocular, which
is a major innovation in its field, making the Mini N/
SEAS standard equipment for many modern military
and para-military forces around the globe.
PCO SA, part of the Polish Armaments Group,
has delivered more than 100 individual night vision
devices to a South-East Asian country where they will
be used by a Police counter-terrorism unit.
A specialist in IR optronics, French firm Safran
Optronics and Defense offers a complete range of
systems and equipment from night vision goggles
to optronics pods for weapon systems and aircraft.
In addition, Sagem offer a complete range of IR
equipment for detection, warning, terminal guidance,
tracking and surveillance, sighting and fire control.
They are the prime contractor for the French "FELIN"
program, designed to provide soldiers with an
integrated combat outfit.
China Sheenrun Optics & Electronics Co. is
a leading night vision equipment and rugged
information equipment supplier which has developed
the world's first laser night vision camera and the
first uncooled continuous zoom IR thermal imaging
camera with independent intellectual property rights,
synchronous zoom laser night vision technology
and continuous zoom thermal imaging technology.
Sheenrun’s laser night vision and IR thermal imaging
products have been widely used in national defence.
Shenzhen Protruly Electronics Co. Ltd
manufactures an IR Laser Night-vision Camera,
500m Night Visual, with 22X Zoom Lens, which can
identify a face in the dark 300 metres away.
L-3 Insight Technology Division provides the most
extensive line of products enabling war fighters to
accurately see, manoeuvre, locate, target and fire
during the day, at night or in adverse weather. It is a
global leader in the development and production of
advanced night vision and electro-optical technology
and systems for the US military, federal agencies,
public safety and international markets.
SOME NV EQUIPMENT IN ASIA
Regular Peoples Liberation Army troops, especially
PLA Marines, exercise with magnified scopes
on their Type 95 rifles and some have started
exercising/trialing red dot scopes, but scopes and
NVGs are not widely distributed. No doubt they
could ramp up manufacturing NVGs if they chose,
since China has
over 95% of the
supply of rare earth
creates a night
utilises the Hanwha
NVG which weighs
680g. They have
also developed the
new K11 Advanced
System, a new
developed by S&T
Daewoo, which features an integral optical sight for
daytime use and night sight with IR sensor. This sight
looks like a relatively large but light video camera
mounted on the top of the K11’s barrel.
As part of Singapore’s Advanced Combat Man
System (ACMS), night weapon sights for the SAR-
21 rifle are made locally by ST Kinetics. Singapore
also uses the locally produced Advanced Hand-Held
Thermal Imager (AHHTI) that allows vision at night
and in fog. Captured images can be downloaded and
transmitted by reconnaissance units.
India’s infantry aspire to having 50% of
soldiers equipped with NV goggles (NVG). Their
government is working to a plan to buy 30 billion
rupees ($US 500 million) worth of night-vision
equipment for their armed forces. Most Indian NV
systems are produced by state-owned Bharat
Electronics Limited (BEL). In February 2015
BEL announced a partnership with Rolta India
concerning technologies for thermal imagers,
image intensifier tubes and new generation
products that they plan to start introducing in
Australian project LAND 53 Phase 1BR, is just one
phase of what Defence describes as “a multi-phased
project intended to provide a suite of night fighting
equipment (NFE), surveillance and target acquisition
systems. These include perimeter surveillance
equipment, NFE, ground surveillance radar and
thermal surveillance systems that provide land
forces with detection, recognition and identification
capabilities under various battlefield conditions.”
In October 2016 Australian Defence Industry
Minister Christopher Pyne signed an AU $307m
contract with L-3 Oceania for the latest night vision
goggles, helmet mounts, head harnesses and laser
aiming devices. He said:
“These night vision goggles will be provided to
Army close combatants, such as Special Forces
and Infantry, as well as general combatants, such as
drivers, medics and elements of the Royal Australian
Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.”
The contract also provides for ongoing support
of supplied equipment.
NEC in Japan manufactures a couple of thousand
JGVS-V8 units annually, these being an Exelis
licensed copy of its AN/PVS-14.
SEEING IN THE DARK – CONCLUSIONS
NVDs are becoming lighter and more functional with
successive technology generations. This has caused
weather to become less of a factor, making 24/7
operations a possibility under all conditions.
Although charged battery life is a factor for the
individual soldier wearing NVG, this is not a problem for
aviators, ship’s bridge watches or vehicle drivers who
have a ready and continuous power supply to hand.
As battery technology continues to improve, it will also
become less of a limiting factor for individual soldiers.
Virtually no nation has a complete distribution of
night vision equipment for all personnel who might
require it. Regular technology changes mean that
supplying every person with NV systems runs the
risk of block obsolescence. Better to keep Special
Forces personnel equipped with the very latest
systems and tier down their previous NV equipment
within their armies.
Currently IR illumination and heat detection
provides essentially black, grey and white images.
Australian National University research may soon lead
to conversion of these IR images to colour, making
night vision much more realistic and discriminating.
US Marines machine gunners, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, fire at a target at Range 400
at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, during the unit’s night-
time combined arms live-fire exercise. Credit: USMC / Julio McGraw
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