Night Targeting and Observation. Works 11 Equipment Presentation

20 listopada 2017, 16:11
Panoramic GPNVG night vision goggles. Image Credit: L3
AN/PVS-24 NVG system. Image Credit:
Image Credit: L3
Image Credit: L3

Works 11 company invited representatives of the military, including the Special Forces, and of several military institutes, to allow them to get acquainted with the systems offered by the L3 Communications company. The said company has been, since some time now, represented by Works 11 in Poland.

The presentation of the selected equipment (thermal vision, night vision, sights and laser aiming systems) was organized within the area of the Military Institute of Armament Technology Dynamic Test Centre firing range in Stalowa Wola. The said facility has a proper range at its disposal allowing for carrying out training without available daylight. Moreover the said entity also has proper terrain available, to conduct open field activities.

Organizers selected late evening for the demonstration, which allowed to showcase the equipment in conditions that would be highly likely to emerge during the autumn and spring season within the Central Eastern European operational theatre. This is referred to the temperatures around 10 degrees centigrade, fog, rain, and, consequently, high degree of humidity. More importantly, the presentation occurred a few days after the new moon with the sky completely obscured by clouds, which made it possible to exclude the presence of natural light, coming from the moon or stars.

The presentation took place at an underground, indoors shooting range, usually used to zero the weaponry applied on the combat vehicles manufactured by the HSW S.A. company: Rak self propelled mortars and Krab sph platforms. Works 11 decided to use HK-416 and KLESZ-1 (AR-15) weapons to showcase the newly proposed products. The equipment making it possible to use vehicular platforms in zero visibility could have been tested on Humvees that were driven around the range.

The shooters interested in trying out a variety of firearms optronics were given a chance to use a variety of weapons and sights/designators configurations. 500 rounds of 5.56x45 mm ammunition were prepared to carry out the test shooting aimed at a sillhouette target (30-12-500/30-11-700). 

AN/PVS-24 NVG system. Image Credit:

The shooting, observation of its results and later rides within the perimeter also involved the equipment showcased. This refers to use of the WTM-PI thermal vision miniocular, AN/PVS-31 night vision binoculars and GPNVG panoramic NVG system. The rifles utilized during the presentation were coupled with LA-5B/PEQ laser sight, AN/PEQ-16B laser sight and LWTS thermal vision sight. The above made it possible to rapidly assess and compare the functionality of the systems showcased, used by shooters whose level of skill and predispositions were identical, in identical conditions.

WTM-PI thermal vision miniocular is a compact (127×71×57 mm), lightweight (31 grams with batteries) observation system, with embedded laser target designator and a digital camera, capable of capturing up to 150 images and movie clips that may be stored, uploaded or transferred on the computer for further use. Playback option is also available in field conditions.

The system is operated within the wavelength of 840 nm, with a beam convergence of 0.5 mrad and power output for the laser defined as 0.5 mW. The 12V lithium battery offers 4 hours of operation, while the device’s design makes it possible to carry it in a tactical vest. The system provides the user with a field of view or 37 degrees, diagonally, and offers refresh rate of 60 Hz, making it possible for the to effectively carry out observation and search for targets, both when visibility remains limited by the weather factors, including rain and fog, as well as in complete darkness. 

ANPVS-24 NVG system also known as M124 is a simple to use night vision sight utilized by the US Army. The 794 grams system has dimensions of 165×94×84 mm. It is powered by a 3V lithium battery offering 16 hours of operation in temperature of 25 degrees centigrade. The 55 mm focal length offers the field of view of 13 degrees and allows the user to detect objects at ranges from 25 to 500 metres, at night and during the day, which also lets the shooter to use the weapon without eye-scope distance being changed, which makes advantage of the muscle memory ascribed to operational use. 

The manufacturer also noted that the sight may be used without removing the daytime optics, i.e. one system does not to have replace the other. The device may also be utilized as an autonomous observation system, with easy-to-use zooming and focusing mechanisms.

The AN/PVS-31 helmet mounted night vision binoculars system weighs less than 450 g with battery, and has compact dimensions of 119×107×86 mm. It is a III-gen system with the MX-11769 image intensifier based on the green phosphorus technology (white phosphorus variant is also available). The system also features variable amplification option. The system has the following features: 16 hours lithium battery life or 24 hours battery life if 4 AA batteries are used, with 40 degrees circular field of view at 450 mm of focal length.

Panoramic GPNVG night vision goggles. Image Credit: L3

GPNVG panoramic land-use helmet-mounted NVG solution is available in variants based on the AN/AVS-10 aviation system’s green or white phosphorus technologies. They have been coupled with a III-generation image intensifier. The specific design with four separate lenses and four MX-10160 image intensifiers provides the user with a panoramic field of view: 97 degrees horizontally and 40 degrees vertically, without diminished IQ at the edges of the image.

It is also possible to dismantle the individual oculars transforming them, with the power supply unit attached, into autonomous low-profile observation night-vision devices. The device may be coupled with 4 typical AA batteries in a winter power supply box with an option of acting as an IR-flash-gun. At least 8 hours of battery life is guaranteed. The basic configuration with 4 DL123 batteries is to provide at least of 8 hours of operation, at the temperature of 25 degrees centigrade.

GPNVG system, on the other hand, weighs up to 800 grams without the accessories. Its dimensions are as follows: 231×117×104 mm. The device is offered with a variety of ANVIS/BNVIS helmet mounts. It may also be configured with other mounts, ensuring good quality of observation in conditions of zero or limited visibility.

The LA-5B/PEQ laser targeting device (Advanced Target/Pointer Illuminator Aiming Laser-HP) is a light (213 g with a 3V lithium battery and 3 hours of battery life in dual/high mode), rifle-mounting rail attached multi-channel aiming system that has visible light and infra red lasers embedded within its structure coaxially with an infra-red target illuminator.

Image Credit: L3

The former system may be operated within two power settings (4,5 mW and 20 mW), with beam characterized by wavelength of 625-665 nm and 0.5 mrad convergence. The latter infra-red solution emits a beam at a power output of 0.6 mW or 25 mW with 0.5 mrad convergence and 830 nm of wavelength. The infra-red target illuminator has a power output of 3mW or 80mW, within the wavelength of 830 nm with pulse-adjusted beam length. The convergence is contained within the range between 1 and 105 mrad. The manufacturer emphasizes the fact that this system is much more light and compact, in comparison with the AN/PEQ-2A model, while its reinforced design predestines the targeting device in question for machine gun use. Unit Size: 120×71×41 mm. 

AN/PEQ-16B is defined as a multi-purpose tactical Mini Integrated Pointer Illuminator Module (MIPIM), utilizing visible and invisible laser light and white diode light. At a weight of 281 grams (with two lithium batteries included, offering life of 1.25 hours in full visible light spectrum and with dimensions of 104×81×43) it is easy to mount the system on the side rail of the weapon.

Visible light laser power output (wavelength of 605-665 nm, convergence of 0.5 mrad) is equal to 4 mW. The above translates into effective range of 25 metres. The IR laser beam with wavelength of 820-860 nm and standard convergence of 0.5 mrad is operated at power outputs of 600 mW or 25 mW. This specification provides the user with ranges beyond 600 or 2000 metres. The target illuminator operated within the IR range (820-860 nm, convergence of 1 to 105 mrad), at power of at least 3.5 mW or 30 mW (selectable by the user) is to guarantee range between 600 up to beyond 2000 metres. The range would depend on the power setting. In case of the tactical lighting system option, the LED emits light at the level of intensity of 125 lum.

LWTS (weighing 1.2 kg with dimensions of 234×92×114 mm) thermal vision sight in a long range variant is a product of an entirely different class. It is an L3 offering dedicated for other purposes. It may be used both as an independent targeting device, as well as an additional system or hand-held observation system for heavy weapons. It may also be coupled with ACOG, MOD, SDO, Aimpoint or ELCAN optics.

Furthermore, it may also be used for recon-operations purposes. Here it would take on a role of an autonomous observation device allowing the snipers to observe and identify targets at night. If the air is clear, the system would be able to help the user in spotting the objects located up to 2500 metres away. The LWTS device provides the user with an ability to observe and identify the targets in tough conditions, from light rain, fog, smoke, with complete darkness to finish with.

It is powered by 4 lithium-ion AA batteries and may be operated for more than 10 hours in temperature of 25 degrees. It features a display the resolution of which is 640×480, with its sensor being a non-cooled microbolometer, which increases the detection and recognition abilities by 80%, in comparison with the classic derivative of the sight. It provides the user with a field of view of 7.4 degrees (horizontally) and 2x digital zoom. 1/2x zoom is available when the optic is mounted on the weapon. The imagery remains in focus within a range between 5 metres and infinity. Thanks to the RS-170 connector and optional WPAN antenna make it possible to transfer the video in real time.

The list of features distinguishing the system include its ability of being field repaired. The targeting grids may be adjusted for a variety of weapons with 1 MOA of accuracy (with an option of shifting the image below 2 MOA when compared to manual mode, after mounting the system on the weapon). The optic also features ergonomic setting knobs allowing for quick change and integrated shutter with individually adjustable settings. 

Jerzy Reszczyński
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