Optronics capabilities aim to decamouflage concealed enemiesNews
May 10, 2023
SOF Week 2023 – TAMPA, Fla. Defense companies at the SOF Week convention are showcasing optronics systems for troops that can unveil concealed enemies, in both confined and open areas.
Identifying hidden adversaries is a constant concern for land forces, but newly available optronics capabilities can help troops flush out hidden danger. Standard gear like goggles, binoculars, and sights are now becoming multifunction solutions as they get fitted with diverse sensors and technologies, sincluding augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), infrared (IR) capabilities, and thermal imaging, among others.
Thales Group (Austin, Texas), for example, displayed its new XTRAIM Weapon Sight, a day/night device combining conventional red-dot and thermal imaging in an arrangement that was previously only available via multiple separate weapon-mounted devices. Tim Riley, manager of business development for Thales, explains that TRAIM is a hybrid between a reflex and a thermal sight in very small form factor and can support dismounted soldiers and snipers in asymmetric and conventional environment.
"It is all-in-one day/night sight with some use modes. So, during the day, you have an outline mode, which looks for the contrast between the ambient environment and the thermal target and then highlights the target from the background. There is also a full infrared and black hot/white hot capability," Riley notes.
Additionally, XTRAIM’s large eyepiece allows users to shoot with both eyes open both in day and night conditions. The device is also compatible with night vision goggles (NVGs).
Thales is currently working on other solutions for dismounted soldiers, including a gunshot-detection app, a pre-shot detection system, a GPS-denied navigator, and the Quad night-vision goggles.
"Quad [goggles] features a very wide field of view, 126 degrees approximately, and is light.weight, about 700 grams or 1.5 pounds. It will be available in 2025," Riley asserts.
Other advanced googles on display at SOF Week are Elbit Systems of America’s Enhanced Night Vision Goggle–Binocular (Envg-B) -- in service with the U.S. Army -- and Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle (SBNVG) -- currently in use by the U.S. Marine Corps.