Excelitas Qioptiq’s latest addition to the Merlin family of riflescopes is the LR2, which features a catadioptric (mirror-lens) lens
In past global conflicts, the percentage of wounded and killed from a small arms weapons was relatively high, but in modern scenarios the methods of its application have changed significantly. While militants of various kinds and soldiers of militarily underdeveloped countries currently use small arms mainly as a means of suppression, accuracy for the troops of the Western regular armies has become an urgent necessity in order to avoid collateral losses. Fire is allowed to be opened only after positive identification of the target and preferably in a single mode. Hence the increasing role of optoelectronic sights and the fading into the background of mechanical sights, which nevertheless remain as a duplicating element. Aiming systems range from optical instruments used in the daytime, and sights with enhanced image brightness, which can be used only at night, to thermal imaging sights operating in different ranges, which can also improve image quality when the visibility deteriorates in the daytime, not to mention about typical fire control systems that increase the effectiveness of a soldier or compensate for his lack of experience. The article provides an overview of some products recently introduced by companies, while the predominance of new thermal imaging systems demonstrates the growing importance of these high-tech solutions on the battlefield.
A few days before Milipol 2019, Aimpoint announced its new CompactMP5b collimator scope for 5,56 and 7,62mm NATO standard weapons
In daytime operations in clear weather, optical sights remain the preferred choice because they guarantee maximum resolution and allow you to see more details that even the most advanced digital system of comparable weight and size can not see, at least for today.
At the Milipol 2019 exhibition, the Swedish company Aimpoint presented its new closed-type CompM5b collimator sight, which has interchangeable corrections flywheels for NATO cartridges of 5,56 and 7,62 mm calibres with six intervals of 100 meters, from 100 to 600 meters. A collimator sight with an aiming point of 2 MOA (angular minutes) is designed to work with both eyes open. In the standard configuration, it weighs 254 grams, of which 180 grams falls on the sight itself. Together with Aimpoint CompM5b, the position of the active mark can be instantly adjusted to compensate for the bullet falling depending on the distance to the target. The sight has a built-in mechanism for adjusting for wind and slope. CompM5b is waterproof to 45 meters and is compatible with all known night vision devices, as well as magnifying nozzles. The red mark illumination can be removed, 10 different brightness settings are available, four of them are designed to work with night devices. The device is powered by an AAA format power supply, which provides 5 years of continuous operation in high brightness modes and more than 10 years in low / night modes. Aimpoint is counting on the first customer soon, the CompM5b will be available on the market in spring 2020.
To meet the needs of the U.S. military, Trijicon has developed the VCOG 1-8x2, which is the third system in the VCOG family.
Trijicon, another leader in the industry, unveiled its new VCOG 1-8x28 (Variable Combat Optical Gunsight) sight last spring, developed at the request of the U.S. military, who needs a sturdy scope with a larger magnification and aperture than the current VCOG 1- 6x24. The field of view of the new device varies from 20 ° to 2.5 (compared with 18 ° -3 ° in the model 1-6x24). The sight, made of 7075-T6 aviation-grade aluminum alloy, can withstand immersion to a depth of 20 meters and has an integrated adapter. The VCOG 1-8x28 sight, measuring 274,3x71,1x71,1 mm, weighs 893 grams without a holder and battery. The first crosshair in the focal plane allows you to quickly estimate the distance to the target, while the illuminated circular segmented sighting grid, available in angular minutes or milliradians, can be adjusted within 120 angular minutes, adjusted for wind and elevation - one division of the flywheel rotation the introduction of amendments corresponds to 0,25 arc minutes or 0,1 milliradian. The brightness of the red circle can be selected from 11 different levels - two for night vision and nine for daytime, while one of them is super-bright for working in strong light. Power is supplied from one AA battery, which guarantees more than 630 hours (more than 26 days) of operation in mode No. 6. The new sight is currently offered on the market without restrictions.
Meopta recently introduced its MeoForce DF 4x30 riflescope, adding it to two other members of the family, the DF 5x40 and DF 3x20. The first is intended for use with long-barreled weapons, for example, sniper rifles and light machine guns, while the second is intended for installation on assault rifles. These sights have the same body, the difference is in lenses, fields of view, respectively 4 ° and 7 °; weight with battery, mount, covers and sunshade is 475 and 350 grams. The AA-type battery guarantees 300 hours of work with the crosshairs backlit with medium brightness, while 12 different brightness levels are available. The new DF 4x30 scope is packaged in the same housing, but has a field of view of 5.3 ° and weighs 385 grams. According to the Czech company, it was created taking into account the needs of some potential customers who need an average sight between the two existing models.
Meopta introduced the latest addition to the MeoForce family - the MeoForce DF 4x30 sight, designed to meet the needs of some customers
Meprolight, part of the SK Group (Israel Weapons Industries is among other companies), has a wide variety of weapon sights in its portfolio, optical, with enhanced image brightness and thermal imaging. Some of them have specific characteristics that you will not find in similar products currently available on the market. One of them is the Mepro Foresight optical sight weighing 280 grams, developed on the basis of the Mepro M5 optical-electronic collimator sight. The optical system has been replaced by a transparent display, which allows you to add various information to the screen, thereby increasing functional flexibility. The idea of Meprolight was to solve all possible problems and at the same time add some elements. Thus, Mepro Foresight is an open system that can easily be updated using the application in the smartphone, which connects to the sight via Bluetooth. A single crosshair profile can contain up to five different target threads, selectable and an extensive base, all with the same zero settings. The application can store up to 10 profiles, each of them is designed for a specific weapon; when switching from one weapon to another, the operator loads the appropriate profile and the scope is reset. If different ammunition can be used in one weapon, then in the same profile it is possible to use the built-in function to adjust the zeroing of the crosshair for different cartridges.
According to Meprolight, its Mergo Foresight scope is best for police using non-lethal grenade launchers. For various weapon systems and ammunition, a functionally very flexible sight is required
Meprolight added a digital compass and a quadrant to the sight; other indicators, for example, Bluetooth status, battery charge, etc. can be seen in the sight, although the operator can configure them, leaving only the necessary information. The Mergo Foresight sight can be installed on a variety of types of weapons, including non-lethal police grenade launchers that require accuracy along with functional flexibility, while taking into account the widest selection of models and types of ammunition for them. In this regard, Meprolight also added a grid that allows you to estimate the distance using the width of the shoulders, since non-lethal effectors are used at relatively short distances of up to 30 meters. In addition, she is currently developing a software update that will add a shot counter to the scope. Mergo Foresight is powered by a non-removable battery that is charged via a USB-C cable; it guarantees a fully functional mode of 50 hours of continuous operation, which can turn into several hundred hours when using only the crosshair. Also for military use, an option was developed with AA batteries, but today there is no customer for this solution.
Meprolight has developed the Merro Foresight sight, which can be updated from a smartphone in order to adapt it to weapons of various types
Image brightness enhancement
The technology for enhancing image brightness maintains a strong position in the field of night sights. One of the latest innovations released in Europe is the new Photonis 4G + Electron-Optical Converter (EOC). Already being mass-produced, it is a refinement of the 4G image intensifier tube released several years ago. The minimum figure of merit, (figure of merit is the product of the signal-to-noise ratio and the maximum resolution (pair of lines / mm)), was increased by more than 20% to 2200, while the typical figure of merit increased by 5% and amounted to 2300. B the handset uses the same technology as in the previous 4G version, power consumption has remained constant, while the cost has increased slightly. 4G + is manufactured with phosphor P43 (green) or P45 (white). The production of the new tube began in the spring of 2019, and is installed in the QuadEye panoramic Night Vision Lasers Spain (NVLS). Later, they will also begin to install it in weapons sights, since the best quality factor allowed to increase the detection / recognition / identification ranges.
Excelitas Qioptiq recently introduced the Merlin-LR 2 detachable gun sight, designed to be mounted on assault and sniper rifles of caliber up to 12,7 mm. It is equipped with a high-quality specular-lens lens and features wide-aperture collimator optics. The device is compatible with various day magnifying nozzles for shooting at medium and long ranges. The sight is available with an image intensifier with a green or white phosphor. The company does not disclose the detailed specifications of its device. The Merlin-LR 2 sight has passed factory tests and is ready for mass production, which should begin in March 2020, then detailed information about it will become known.
Steiner eOptics Close Quarter Thermal Prototype (CQT); this model with collimator and thermal imaging channels is at the final stage of development
Photonis' latest product, the 4G + Optical Transducer, is an evolutionary development of the previous 4G with some added features.
Long wave thermal imaging
Let's move on to thermal imaging. When weight and cost are key parameters, microbolometers operating in the long-wave (near) infrared region of the spectrum come into play, that is, in the range of 8-12 microns. These systems, usually available as sights or removable devices, are used at shorter ranges. Steiner eOptics (part of Beretta) showed at DSEI the latest addition to its portfolio - the CQT Close Quarter Thermal scope. The CQT scope combines the benefits of collimator optics with the advantages of thermal imaging devices. The thermal second channel is based on one of the latest FLIR sensors - a 320x256 matrix with a step of 12 microns and a refresh time of 60 Hz. The sight can operate in three different thermal modes: a contour representation, with noise suppression and fully thermal noise. In thermal imaging mode, the field of view is 16 ° x 12 °, the window dimensions are 31x22,5 mm. The sight can be used in conjunction with night vision devices; to work at long distances, it can be equipped with a magnifier x3. The sight has a length of 133 mm and a width of 77 mm, the height from the guide to the center of the window is 53 mm, the weight with batteries is 390 grams. The sight is powered by two CR123 batteries, which provide at maximum brightness 4 hours of operation in thermal imaging mode and 160 hours in collimator mode.
The Phoenix-S, recently introduced by Excelitas Qioptiq, is paired with Phoenix-H targeting binoculars (bottom photo), which is capable of transmitting target data to a sniper wirelessly
Numerous potential buyers are showing increased interest in the CQT. However, this configuration is not yet final, that is, the aforementioned data refer to the latest pre-production sample shown at the London exhibition.
The newest addition to the Excelitas Qioptiq portfolio of uncooled devices is the Dragon-S 12 detachable scope. Compared to the Dragon-S model, it has a 640x480 matrix with 12 micron pitch (provides a much higher resolution compared to 320x240 matrix and 25 micron pitch for Dragon-S ) The image is displayed on a 1280x1024 full-color OLED display with a horizontal field of view of 5.3 °. The detection range of a target the size of a person exceeds 2,5 km, recognition - about 1 km, and identification - 500 meters. The dimensions of the Dragon-S 12 sight are 191x88x103 mm, without the lens cap, case and batteries, it weighs 850 grams, that is, less than its predecessor. Power is supplied from three AA batteries, providing over 7 hours of continuous operation. Dragon-S 12 is designed for low-level shooters who work 400-500 meters from their targets. The Dragon-S 12, released in early 2019, is mass-produced and has already been ordered by several unnamed customers.
To be continued ...