Military Review

Domestic Night Vision

Domestic Night Vision

The task of effectively using night time to solve tactical tasks in the conduct of hostilities has always stood before commanders.

Technology and practice

The development of night vision devices (NVD) by scientists and engineers in our country began actively in the 30-s of the twentieth century. It was at this time that the first photoelectric devices appeared. As one blogger, Kirill Ryabov, an expert on this issue, correctly noted: “One branch of development in this area spawned television and modern digital video, and the second led to the appearance of electron-optical converters (EOC), which are the basis for night-vision devices.”
Operating principle

A typical NVD consists of a lens, an image intensifier with a power supply unit and an eyepiece. The principle of its operation in brief is as follows: the light reflected from the object of observation passes through the lens and creates an image at the input (cathode) of the image intensifier, which is electronically amplified and projected in a yellow-green glow on the output screen of the converter, transmitted through the eyepiece to the observer's eye.

A distinctive feature of these types of devices is that the image is clear only in the center, with distortion and a lower edge resolution. In addition, if bright sources of light come into view, such as lanterns, luminous windows of houses, and the like, they can light up the entire image, obstructing the possibility of observation.

By the principle of operation, all night vision devices are divided into two classes: devices using the light of the Moon, reflected from targets and local objects, stars (passive) or artificial sources - infrared illuminators (active), and devices that mainly use their own thermal radiation from targets and local objects, o which speech below.

NVD. Historical excursion

One of the first NVDs in the Soviet Union was the Kvant system, which was based on the principle of infrared radiation. The infrared light reflected from surrounding objects was necessary for operation of the device, and the image intensifier had a photocathode and a luminescent screen. (A similar system, by the way, is still used, although it has to compete with other types of NVD.)

Quantum itself, a rather large-sized complex, was initially planned to be installed on airplanes. However, later the project was redirected to Tanks. Similar systems were developed for the Navy. By the beginning of World War II, only the Black Sea Fleet had 15 sets of night vision ship systems. And by the middle of autumn 1941, Black Sea sailors received another 18. In the fall of 1943, employees of the All-Russian Electrotechnical Institute created a night sight for the rifle weapons. For obvious reasons, it was not possible to equip it with a searchlight illumination. However, when using an external source of IR radiation, the system worked well. The claims were caused by a short range of action - even in 1945, for the best prototypes, this figure did not exceed 150 – 200 meters.

At the end of World War II, our scientists were able to compare their developments with trophy ones. It turned out that the praised German equipment in its performance practically did not differ from the domestic one.

NVD continued to improve, priority was given to one or another type of instrument illumination. So, in 70-x - the beginning of 80-ies of the twentieth century, interest in active-type devices increased dramatically due to the use of pulsed-mode lasers for them. The target is illuminated by short pulses of laser radiation. Since the device is turned on only when the laser pulses that are reflected from the target reach the lens, parasitic pulses from local objects in front and behind the target, and also reflected from particles suspended in the atmosphere of dust, moisture, smoke do not get into the NVD. As a result, the observation range is significantly increased compared with the illumination with conventional IR illuminators.

TVP. Modern developments

Soon, new-type devices appeared, which can be easily attributed to night vision devices, but since they convert thermal radiation into a visible image, they are often called thermal imaging devices (TVP). The development of the latter began in the 60 of the twentieth century. There is no competition in principle between the two types of devices, but it should be noted that only in 2009 – 2010 the sales of “thermal imagers” have more than doubled! The principal difference between a night vision device and a high voltage TV is the source of illumination that the first needs and the second one is without.

The most promising direction of development of this type of device is the use of technology of uncooled bolometers, based on the ultra-precise determination of the change in resistance of thin plates under the action of thermal radiation of the entire spectral range. Because of this, the imager is an expensive device. Rare metals, such as germanium, are used to create it, therefore, cheaper materials are being searched for.

It is important to note that despite the sanctions imposed by the United States and the EU countries against Russia and significantly affected our defense industry, we will not reverse this promising weapons trend, since the country has established its own production of these devices. They are produced by OJSC TsNII Tsiklon and the Research and Production Center Spektr AT.

Sych-3TSU and Katran-3 devices, which "in their performance characteristics are not inferior to foreign counterparts and meet all the requirements of modern equipment, include the main brands of domestic thermal imagers currently in service with the Russian army and the military of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation): thinks their exploiter, Colonel I. Kozlenko. “The main scope of their application is reconnaissance, protection of objects, assessment of the degree of masking of objects, search for wounded and injured, detection of mines and caches, unauthorized, hidden burial places”.

Both devices are designed to work around the clock in all weather conditions. Both cameras allow you to see a person at a distance of about 1 kilometers, and recognize him - from a distance of 500 – 600 meters. “Sych” is also capable of not only detecting a target, but also determining its coordinates with the display of information on an electronic map of the area. At the same time, the device does not need special maintenance and maintenance for 10 years! The thermal imager "Katran", in turn, is more practical, equipped with a high-resolution display.

The latest thermal imaging device can be called a Sych-4 portable rangefinder camera. It uses advanced technologies of uncooled microbolometers and safe laser range finders. The successful combination of modern technologies makes it possible to effectively use the camera in any security and safety systems, and the built-in image recording system allows documenting during the entire working time of the camera. Due to objective reasons, TVP, as opposed to night vision devices, cannot yet be mounted on small arms, but are used both independently and in any combination on standard equipment.

Field experience

These devices are actively used (mainly by the FSB, special forces and intelligence units) in areas of the North Caucasus, where a counter-terrorist operation regime is being introduced. There they are one of the main tactical optical-electronic reconnaissance assets used in all-weather conditions. According to the testimonials of servicemen who actively use the SAT, as one of the side negative effects, they have deteriorated vision. In some situations (for example, when working indoors), thermal imagers are significantly inferior to night vision devices, since with an excess of heat it is difficult for the operator to determine the clear outlines of a living target.

According to the servicemen of the special units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who use both domestic night vision devices and TPVs, ideally they need a compact, all-weather instrument-sight with two branches, combining their characteristics. The main criterion is a high-quality, non-blurred image and the ability to identify an object.

Border guards also have their own experience, who traditionally are among the first to get the latest developments of such equipment models. Their need for thermal imagers is particularly high in the flat border areas, where such devices are particularly effective. Modification of a thermal imaging camera for them will be called “Muti”. This autofocus camera looks no different from common video surveillance systems.

As a successful example of the use of special devices in search and reconnaissance activities in the North Caucasus, one can cite the fact that sergeants Alexander K. and Ibrahim M. told the correspondent of the New Defense Order.
In one of the districts in the north of Dagestan, their division blocked the gang. The terrain is flat, with a dense intersection of canals for irrigating farmland, along canals and aryks everything is overgrown with reeds. The maneuverable group of special forces was assigned the task: to carry out an inspection of the terrain with the help of thermal imaging devices. In one of the places, in a large thickets of reeds, the operator was able to detect a contrast target, which was destroyed by sighting fire from a machine gun. After the search at this place was found dead armed gunman.
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  1. Good me
    Good me 1 November 2015 08: 30
    At the end of World War II, our scientists were able to compare their developments with trophy ones. It turned out that the praised German equipment in its performance practically did not differ from the domestic one.

    That those others were only the first, timid experience. But we must pay tribute to the German scientists, engineers, and, as it were, I would not like to voice it to the military, in that they were the first, en masse, in practice, to use NVD in real combat conditions.

    And even though the first samples were not perfect, ineffective and not reliable, but the use of innovations in the tactics of night tank battle marked a new milestone.
    1. cosmos111
      cosmos111 1 November 2015 12: 11
      the Germans in 1945, had 54 equipped with the FG 1250 Panther, and the experimental batch MP-43 / 1 with NVD was produced in quantities of 310 pcs.

      in the USSR, from 1935 of the year, in the laboratory of V.I. Arkhangelsky, the development of night vision devices (NVD) based on electron-optical converters (EOP) began

      in the 1937 year P.V. Timofeev and V.I. Arkhangelsky proposed the technological design of the image intensifier tubes of types C-1 and C-2, V.V. Sorokina, E. G. Kormakova, M.M. Butslov and a number of other VEI employees ....
      NIBT at the 1937 firing range on the BT-7 tank were tested and recommended for serial production projectors for firing at night.
      in 1939-1940 were tested on the BT-7 tank of domestic IR devices "Ship" and "Dudka", the "Ship" kit developed by the State Optical Institute and the Moscow Institute of Glass, included infrared periscopic glasses and a set of additional equipment for driving cars at night ... ...

      Image intensifier tubes of types C-1 and C-2

      IR PNV "Ship"

      IR PNV "Dudka
      1. cosmos111
        cosmos111 1 November 2015 12: 21
        Pz.Kpfw V. "Panther" on the Kursk Bulge with a NVV mounted on the tower ...

        BTR Sd.kfz. 251/20 Falke with 600mm Uhu infrared illuminator ...

  2. gjv
    gjv 1 November 2015 11: 44
    The Sych-3 portable thermal imager is designed for round-the-clock search and observation of objects in simple and difficult weather conditions and in conditions of artificial interference when monitoring a given territory, conducting search and rescue operations, and identifying fire sources. The electronic goniometer-rangefinder grid allows you to evaluate the distance to the object and angular coordinates.

    The Sych-3 thermal imager uses advanced technology of uncooled microbolometers. The camera operates in the long-wave infrared range. In the infrared region of the spectrum, the bulk of the intrinsic electromagnetic radiation of most of the objects of natural and artificial origin surrounding us is concentrated. The use of high-quality germanium optics ensures the most efficient use of the capabilities of the microbolometer. The ability to connect an external power source and a monitor allows you to use Sych-3 in a stationary or mobile version.
    The Sych-3 thermal imager is the only uncooled portable thermal imaging camera of a completely Russian design and production. JSC "TsNII" Cyclone "
    Main Specifications

    FPU Microbiometer aSi / VOx
    Format, pixels 384 × 288
    Pixel Size, microns 25
    MRI, mK <70
    Time to reach operating mode @ 25 ° С, s <30
    Focal length of the lens, mm 70 100
    Field of View 10,97 ° × 8,24 ° 7,69 ° × 5,77 °
    Range of detection of a growth figure, m 1 700 2 400
    Recognition range of a growth figure, m 550 800
    Output signal / OLED GOST 7845-92
    Supply voltage, In 7,2
    Operating temperature -20 ° С to + 50 ° С
    (from a regular battery)
    -30 ° С to + 50 ° С
    (from external power supply)
    Storage temperature -50 ° С to + 70 ° С
    Overall dimensions, mm 200 × 145 × 90 (with f '= 70 mm)
    240 × 160 × 120 (with f '= 100 mm)
    255 × 165 × 137 (with f '= 130 mm)
    shockproof, waterproof
    Weight, kg 1,5 (with f '= 70 mm)
    1,7 (with f '= 100 mm)
    1,9 (with f '= 130 mm)
  3. gjv
    gjv 1 November 2015 11: 55
    Portable uncooled search thermal imager "KATRAN-3B"
    Developed and manufactured in Russia, patent No. 73050, SPECTR-AT LLC.

    "KATRAN-3B" - is a highly effective means of round-the-clock all-weather surveillance (with the ability to document results, the number of registered personnel is at least 7500) and is intended for search and rescue operations, guarding borders, perimeters and objects, assessing the degree of camouflage, reconnaissance, searching for evidence, detection of hidden burials, night patrols, covert surveillance and tracking, customs control, solving forensic tasks, detecting mines and hiding places, ensuring safety during mass events, protecting the environment, etc.
    The thermal imager case is made of impact-resistant plastic, rubberized and reliably protected from external influences. The thermal imager has a high resolution binocular that does not require a change in the interpupillary distance. The thermal imager is controlled by two buttons and an optical encoder. The standard lens is protected by a metal hood, which is easily twisted, which allows you to attach an optical adapter (extender) to the lens. The extender increases the focal length of the base lens at times and, accordingly, the detection distance.
    Thermal Receiver Characteristics
    Receiver type uncooled aSi microbolometer
    The format of the receiver is 320x240 pixels.
    Minimum distinguishable temperature difference 0,05 ° C
    Working spectral range 7 - 14 microns
    Time to exit to operating mode, no more than 5 s
    Focal Length 50mm
    12 ° x 9 ° field of view
    Focusing range 1m ... ∞
    Action range
    Detection / recognition distance: -man 1015/400 m
    Eyepiece and integrated microdisplay
    The eyepiece adjustment range is ± 4 diopters.
    - a type
    - permission
    AMLCD 0,44 "
    640x480 pixels
    - switching the display mode of the thermal image: hot-white (positive), hot-black (negative);
    - change the color palette of the thermal imaging image (black and white, black and green);
    - manual adjustment of the brightness of the backlight of the integrated microdisplay;
    - digital image magnification 1x, 2x, 4x;
    - saving frames in BMP format with indication of free memory space of the card;
    - indication of the status of the battery or connected external power source.
    Video PAL, LEMO Connector
    Autonomous food:
    Li-ion battery 14,4 V 6 W
    Mains power:
    - network adapter 12 V
    - power consumption when charging a battery of 18 W
    - power consumption during operation of the device and battery charge simultaneously 24 W
    Time of continuous operation in normal climatic conditions, at least 6 hours
    physical characteristics
    Weight with 1,5 kg batteries
    Overall dimensions of the device 225х144х70 mm
    IP65 protection
    Operating temperature range -20 ° С ... + 40 ° С
  4. gjv
    gjv 1 November 2015 12: 02
    Portable thermal imaging rangefinder camera "Sych-4"

    Designed for round-the-clock search, detection and observation of objects, as well as determining their distance from the observation point, azimuth and elevation.
    The Sych-4 chamber uses advanced technologies of uncooled microbolometers and safe laser range finders. The camera operates in the long-wavelength infrared range, and the laser range finder at a wavelength safe for the eyes. This combination of modern technology allows you to effectively use the camera in any security and guard systems and during search and rescue operations.
    The built-in system for recording images allows you to carry out documentation throughout the life of the camera.
    The Sych-4 thermal imaging rangefinder camera is the only portable uncooled thermal imaging camera designed and manufactured in Russia. JSC "TsNII" Cyclone "
    Main Specifications
    FPU Microbolometer VOx
    Format, pixels 384 × 288 (option - 640 × 480)
    Pixel Size, microns 25
    Focal length of the lens, mm 100 130
    Field of View 5,5 ° × 4,1 ° 4,2 ° × 3,2 °
    Range of detection of a growth figure, m 3 400 4 400
    Recognition range of a growth figure, m 1 100 1 400
    Wavelength of a laser range finder, nm 1 550
    Measurement accuracy: range, m azimuth, deg. elevation, deg.
    ± 3 (50 - 1500m) 0,25 (1σ) 0,1 (1σ)
    ± 5 (<50m /> 1500m) 0,5 (2σ) 0,2 (2σ)
    Range measurement range, m 5 ... 3 000
    Eyepiece / output signal OLED (800 × 600) / GOST 7845-92
    Recording AVI images (Compact Flash, 4 GB)
    Supply voltage, V 7,2 / 12 (from an external source)
    Operating temperature -20 ° С to + 50 ° С
    Overall dimensions, mm 280 × 160 × 110 (with f '= 100 mm)
    280 × 160 × 140 (with f '= 130 mm)
    Weight, kg 2,4 (with f '= 100 mm)
    2,6 (with f '= 130 mm)
    1. cosmos111
      cosmos111 1 November 2015 12: 41
      Quote: gjv
      Portable thermal imaging rangefinder camera "Sych-4"

      Quote: gjv
      Portable thermal imager "Sych-3

      portable thermal imagers "Sych-3", "Sych-4" and "Sych-5" at the exhibition "Integrated safety-2014":
      presented by the Central Scientific Research Institute "Cyclone" (OJSC Central Research Institute "Cyclone")
      Today, he is the only domestic developer and manufacturer of uncooled thermal imagers and systems based on them, and this is very small for such as Russia ....

      thermal imager "Sych-5"
      the latest development of the Central Research Institute "Cyclone" and serves to solve the same problems as its counterpart - a portable thermal imager "Sych-3". To ensure covert surveillance, the device is equipped with a special sensor that turns on the monitor only when the eyecup operator is touched. To document the work process, it has an internal device for recording to an SD memory card.

      The thermal imager has three versions with a focal length of the lens 51, 68 and 85 mm. Depending on this, the detection range (recognition) of a walking person reaches 2500 (850), 3400 (1100) and 4200 (1400) m. With an increase in the detection range of the target, the total mass of the device, compared with the prototype Sych-3, also decreased with lenses specified focal length does not exceed 0,9, 1,0 and 1,2 kg. Supply voltage - 12 V, working pace

    2. Vadim237
      Vadim237 1 November 2015 13: 11
      We still have the TD 3 thermal imaging day binoculars.
  5. gjv
    gjv 1 November 2015 12: 10
    Miniature thermal imaging camera for the security systems of important objects "Muti"

    The Muti miniature thermal imaging camera is designed for round-the-clock monitoring and control of the situation in simple and difficult weather conditions, during dusting and smoke. The camera works perfectly in complete darkness without any backlighting. It can be used both in mobile and stationary video surveillance complexes that monitor the territory or protected objects. Easily integrates into existing video surveillance systems.
    Main applications:
    State Border Protection
    Heat audit
    Protection of important objects
    Fire service
    Protection of public order
    Natural resource monitoring
    Public safety
    Environmental monitoring
    Unbrakable control
    Perimeter security in own security systems
    Main Specifications

    FPU Microbiometer aSi / VOx
    Format, pixels 160 × 120 384 × 288 640 × 480 1024 × 768
    Pixel size, microns 35 25 25/17 17
    MRI, mK <100 <70 <20 <15
    Focal length of the lens, mm 50 35 35 (25 μm) / 24 (17 μm) 24
    Поле зрения 6,4×4,8 15,6×11,7 25,8×19,5/25,5×19,3 39,9×30,4
    Range of detection of a growth figure, m 1 200
    Recognition range of a growth figure, m 400
    Time to reach operating mode @ 25 ° С, s <15
    Minimum observation distance, m <2
    Output signal / OLED GOST 7845-92
    Supply voltage, In 12
    Operating temperature -30 ° С to + 50 ° С
    Storage temperature -50 ° С to + 70 ° С
  6. Dimon19661
    Dimon19661 1 November 2015 12: 18
    Good article.
  7. lukke
    lukke 1 November 2015 13: 05
    but in my opinion we are far behind in this direction and all these Sychs and Tsyklons are far behind their Western counterparts or joint developments with the bourgeoisie, where the matrix is ​​imported, and the rest is all ours. And I look at our purely domestic bandura and once again I am convinced that "our children are good, and everything we do with our hands ...")))
    1. lukke
      lukke 1 November 2015 22: 28
      for the dabile-minus player ---- in the Cyclone "Shahin" the matrix is ​​also imported. It is the main cost burden of the device and we are only planning to do them completely ourselves! But cheers for patriots don't care)
      On average, the cost of one simple thermal imaging device is 700-900 thousand rubles, of which 70-80 percent is the cost of a lens and a microbolometer. The fact is that matrices are difficult to manufacture: they require carefully prepared production facilities, high-precision equipment, clean rooms. In addition, the production of microbolometers in Russia has not yet been mastered, and they are imported from other countries. Cyclone plans to open its own production of thermal imaging arrays in 2015.
      According to representatives of manufacturers of similar products, at the Interpolytech 2015 exhibition - THERE HERE YOU HAVE NOT KNOCKED HERE FOR US. That's what they told me)
  8. ivanovbg
    ivanovbg 1 November 2015 15: 02
    And why are Russian border guards walking around with helmet-mounted or hand-held devices? Even in Bulgaria, these cameras have long been installed on the 3-5 m mast of jeeps and armored personnel carriers, and in Western Europe - generally on drones.
    1. Svateev
      Svateev 1 November 2015 16: 16
      Quote: ivanovbg
      And why are Russian border guards walking around with helmet-mounted or hand-held devices?

      Because the wearable option can be used everywhere - and on foot, and sitting in a jeep or armored personnel carrier. But the device installed on the mast of the jeep cannot be removed for use on foot as a rule: it is powered from the on-board network.
      1. ivanovbg
        ivanovbg 1 November 2015 20: 04
        Of course, you’re right, the matter is not only in nutrition, but also in the dimensions and weight of the equipment. But on-board vehicles there are several cameras (channels, ranges) - IR, TV, laser. Once familiar border guards boasted that they could detect a person in a radius of up to 4 km in any situation, even if he was buried in the snow or sand, and under suitable conditions - a running man against the backdrop of cold rocks - up to 10-15 km. This is with jeep equipment, with a mast with a height of 5 m.
  9. Svateev
    Svateev 1 November 2015 15: 03
    For objective reasons, TVP, in contrast to NVD, cannot yet be mounted on small arms,

    The author is two years behind life. Thermal imaging sights for small arms have already received GRAU indexes, for example, "Shahin" from TsNII "Cyclone". "Shvabe-Defense and Protection" has PT3, etc. etc.
  10. bad
    bad 3 November 2015 14: 55
    wow I remember at the time NSPU dragged ... tin ..
  11. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 4 November 2015 00: 44
    We had to master the production of matrices ... in 2015.