Science Technology: "Archer" - an eye aiming at night.

Mon, 10.06.2019 16:08

From the very beginning of human wars, as soon as a man took a stone and threw it at the enemy, the process of improving long-range weapons, first throwing, and then fire, was launched. Over time, it was understood that by improving the design of the weapon itself, one can achieve long range and destructive power, but only to a certain extent improve the accuracy and accuracy of the battle. Aiming devices on a firearm did not appear immediately, at first, quite an intuitive aiming was enough to hit the target, when the barrel bore was only approximately aimed at the target. The firing range and the scattering of a bullet fired from the barrel did not require any sights. But, with the improvement of weapons, improving the quality of manufacturing barrels, increasing firing range, there was a need for devices that allow the shooter to aim the weapon more accurately for hitting the target.

The first devices of this kind were sights such as "front and rear sight (slatted bar)", with all its simplicity turned out to be quite effective, especially when shooting at short distances. The solution was so successful that it is now used on most modern pistols. However, it quickly became clear that this sight is not suitable for firing at different ranges, especially when it is necessary to shoot at a greater range.



The simplest sight of the "front and rear sight"

It was possible to eliminate this shortcoming on mechanical sights, in which the rear sight or special frame changes its height depending on the range over which the fire should be fired.


 The main types of moving mechanical sights.

A similar solution has been applied to most modifications of the well-known Kalashnikov assault rifle. The accuracy of fire increased significantly, but the problem of aiming accuracy at long ranges arose - the resources of human vision are not unlimited.

Thus, the prerequisites for creating optical sights, ie sights in which there was an increase in the image (apparent approximation) of the target in the field of view in the range from 2 to 24 times.


Optical sight.


The first telescopic sights appeared in America more than 100 years ago. The first combat use of a rifle with a telescopic sight was made during the American War of Independence in 1861-1865. Since then, scopes have been used in almost all significant armed conflicts.

The next jump in the development of sights occurred before the Second World War. German engineers from the firm Allgemeine Electricitats-Gesellschaft (AEG), in 1936, developed the first night-vision device, intended for the sight of an anti-tank gun.

To perform the function of night vision, this device required the target to be illuminated with a spotlight with an infrared filter, that is, with light that is not visible to the naked eye. In 1944, the night vision technology was improved to such an extent that the serial production of the infrared sights Zielgerät 1229 (ZG.1229) “Vampir”, which were installed on the MP-44/1 assault rifles, appeared.


 One of the first infrared sights for small arms: German Zielgerät 1229 (ZG.1229) "Vampir"

The backlight made the device heavy and bulky, consumed a lot of energy, for which it was necessary to include a powerful battery as part of the device. In addition to this, the light of such a searchlight was perfectly visible by other night vision devices, which unmasked the position of the shooter using such a sight. Because of these shortcomings, such devices did not receive significant use in small arms, but were widely used where the requirements for mass and dimensions were not critical - in night vision systems for armored vehicles and aircraft. Also a significant drawback for military use of devices was the fact that when a flame came into the field of view of a device, the device “blinded”: the sight aimed at a fire “flashed” for a few minutes, and a powerful flash from a shot or close break could completely disable the device. Night vision devices with illumination of the target with infrared light are considered to be the devices of the first generation.

Most of the shortcomings of the devices of the first generation were eliminated on the devices of the second generation, however, this happened already in the 70s of the twentieth century.


 Illuminated night vision monocular.

Refusal to illuminate and use microchannel technology allowed us to shrink the weight and dimensions of the device to the size of conventional binoculars, and the achieved gain of 20,000 allowed us to confidently detect, classify and identify targets using the stars and the moon.

The disadvantages of devices of this kind is the fact that for their work they still need a certain minimum level of illumination. On a moonless night or in rooms without lighting, these devices will not work.

The next stage in the development of night vision devices was the emergence of thermal imagers - devices that allow you to see directly the thermal radiation of an object. Such a device works confidently in absolute darkness, it is not illuminated by close flashes, it allows observing or aiming through smoke or a dust curtain.


Thermal imaging sight "Archer"

Moreover, observing with the help of such a device equipment, it is possible to distinguish real military equipment from various types of mock-ups and simulators: for example, a combat tracked vehicle such as a tank or BMP in the field of view of the thermal imager produces a characteristic “glow” not only of the engine, but also of rubber bands of road wheels, and after firing - and the gun barrel. Camouflage nets and tree branches will not prevent the imager from detecting hidden equipment and people.


Tank in sight of the thermal imager. The “glowing” of the engine and the cannon barrel attracts attention.

One of the leading Ukrainian enterprises producing sights and observation devices is Thermal Vision Technologies, which manufactures its products under the ARCHER trademark.

In the product line of the company there are both conventional optical and thermal sights. Some sights, such as, for example, the ARCHER TSA 7, are essentially a shooting complex, including a built-in range finder, a compact meteorological station, an accelerometer, a ballistic computer, which takes into account the impact on the flying bullet of atmospheric conditions (the deviation of the rotation), the effect of the Coriolis force (the deviation of the trajectory of the flight of the bullet under the influence of the rotation of the Earth) and the elevation angle of the target.


Thermal sighting shooting complex ARCHER TSA 7.

For observation at night and in conditions of limited visibility, Thermal Vision Technologies manufactures a line of monocular and binocular devices. The ARCHER TGX 8/75 binocular not only provides a high-quality image, but also allows using the built-in laser range finder to measure the distance to the observed target, and the instrument eyepieces allow diopter adjustment of the image, thus adjusting the binocular to the observer's vision.


Binocular ARCHER TGX 8/75

An interesting development of the company is the Sych 5K10 optical reconnaissance and detection complex. This device allows you to video monitor the area and automatically find disguised optical aiming and surveillance devices. With the help of the complex, it is possible to identify masked optical devices, and this can be done at night, in rain or fog. Given the fact that the detection range is one and a half kilometers - it is difficult to overestimate the importance of this complex for the search for enemy reconnaissance groups or snipers.


Complex reconnaissance and detection of optical instruments "Sych 5K10".

Thus, the Ukrainian military industry, including in the face of the company Thermal Vision Technologies, produces the most modern and sophisticated electronic-optical systems, allowing to provide the armies of the countries-customers of "high-tech" products.

Read this article in russian.

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