Night Vision and Thermal Systems

Infrared Scope – Insights to the First Night Vision Devices

Night Vision goggles, scopes, cameras, and other equipments are the brain child of the very first person to ever create Infrared Night Vision Devices—Dr. Vladimir K. Zworklyn. He was task to develop infrared devices for use by the masses and not intended to be used by the military. After its discovery, Infrared technology has migrated from providing commercial uses to civilians to war purposes by the military.

The company that started developing these first military tools was named AEG, or Allgemeine Elektricitats-Gesellaschaft or literally meaning General Electric Company which is a company manufacturing electric equipment. The manufacture of infrared nigh-vision devices started in 1936 and was finished with a prototype infrared scope by mid 1939 for use with 37 mm Pak 35/36 L/45 anti-tank guns. And by the autumn of 1942, another unit was constructed complete with headlamps and viewers for 75mm PaK 40 L/46 anti-tank guns, which was also mounted on the Marder II.

Soldier in Vietnam with PVS-2

Soldier in Vietnam with PVS-2

But the infrared scope was not enough for the Germans rising military industry needs. By 1943 they started developing a bigger and more powerful infrared scope for the Panther, their one of the most successful tank model in World War 2.

There are also very popular sniper gun models that are based on this technology: The Vampir, The PPN-2 Night Vision Scope, The Snooperscope Infrared M2 on T3 carbine, Sniperscope Infrared 20,000 volt set No.1 on M3 carbine, and the AN/PAS-4 Weaponsight Infrared telescope Assembly used on M14 Rifle.

The Vampir was the first rifle to use an infrared scope weighing at 13.5 lbs. It is an active infrared weapon that is operating in the lighter infrared spectrum rather than heat based, producing black and white images which is more than enough for experienced snipers to plant a head shot.

Soviet made PPN-2 active IR scope on the other hand is a night vision scope that is intended to be used on PK, PKT, and PKM weapons. It includes a head lamp to produce some IR light which you can mount on the scope itself or on the remote battery box.

The other three rifles and IR-scope combinations were more improved versions of scopes, literally making them telescopes packed with Infrared illumination. This makes the snipers more effective in hitting their prey as they can cover a wide range to about 200 yards.

There are two main categories of infrared devices, the active and passive. Active infrared devices do not have ability multiply low light by themselves and have infrared illumination devices like spotlights with infrared filters or dedicated devises with IR LED’s or IR lasers with light spectrum range of 700-1000nm that is just below the visible light spectrum.

Passive infrared devices or night vision devices on the other hand uses image intensifier units which has various low light multiplying ranges starting as low as just several thousands and exceeding 80’000x on image intensifier cascade systems where each next image intensifier multiply light of previous one.

Categorised as: Night Vision

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