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08 September 2016

Land Forces 2016: L-3 Warrior Systems Presents Optics Suite

In contrast with some of the larger and more fearsome technological developments at Land Forces 2016, L-3 Warrior Systems are displaying their image intensification (I2) and thermal – also known as Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) – optics systems, as well as a variety of rangefinders and aiming devices.

In an effort to combine both I2 and thermal imaging technology, L-3 Warrior Systems has created multiple products based on the Fusion concept, resulting in single head-mounts that feature the ability for vision with I2, thermal or both, such as the AN/PSQ-36. Thermal and I2 optics have their own distinct advantages, and by placing both in a single product, the operator receives access to the best of both technologies.

As I2 technology has evolved, so too has the potential and demand for an increased field of view (FOV), which now ranges from 40 degrees with monocular and binocular products, to 97 degrees, which is achieved with L-3’s Ground Panoramic Night Vision Goggle (GPNVG) – notable for four image intensification tubes as opposed to one or two, and developed by L-3’s Warrior Systems Insight Technology division. “By adding more tubes you can expand the FOV - this is 97 degrees,” Insight Technology President Todd Stirtzinger explained. “There are a variety of configurations of I2 devices and we are proud that our suite of products is available to meet the needs of our customer, enabling them to complete the mission safely.”

Traditionally, I2 is associated with green phosphorous, but Stirtzinger posits that white phosphorous is increasing in popularity. “There were studies done many years ago that found green was better for discerning for the eye,” Stirtzinger said. “We’ve developed a white phosphor, so it’s more like a black and white image, very natural. There have been studies done in the States, where the soldiers feel less fatigued, and in a very cluttered scene they can see a little bit better resolution and pick out targets a bit better.”

Stirtzinger pointed out the learning curve involved with effectively producing white phosphor, and suggested it currently gives L-3 an edge over their competitors. “They have it, but we’ve been producing it longer,” he said. “In the meantime, we continue to develop the technology to enhance the performance of the tube.”

Timothy Dempsey

Picture shows L-3’s Ground Panoramic Night Vision Goggle (GPNVG)