There is a common trope in the night vision world: 1 < 2 < 4. These numbers refer to the quantity of tubes used in different sets of NODs (Night-vision Optical Devices). Monoculars like the PVS-14 or Photonis Vyper-14 are inherently more limited than binocular devices like DTNVGs, and “panoramic” quad-tube NODs like GPNVGs are heralded by many as the holy grail of seeing in the dark – hence, one tube isn’t as good as two tubes, which aren’t as good as four. Although in practicality, the four vs. two debate is a bit more complex than this somewhat trite representation, with factors like weight entering the mix, the fact remains that quads are a big deal (and come with the big price tag to match). Doubtlessly, there is something to be said for panos’ offering of a wider field of view and resultant better situational awareness.
To be fair, some of the legend of quads is likely also fueled by their “operator operating operationally” image, as epitomized in the film Zero Dark Thirty and similar portrayals in popular culture. In the real world, depending on the situation, it is not unheard of for Special Operations personnel to leave quads on the shelf in favor of quality dual-tube sets instead, when given the choice. However, there are certainly some applications, such as blackout driving or flying, for which four tubes could be decidedly advantageous. With this in mind, Photonis Defense‘s newest product line is particularly interesting. With the following press release, they have announced their new smaller and lighter PD-PRO series of NVGs. The lineup includes a PD-PRO-16M Monocular, PD-PRO-16B Binocular, and the latest quad on the block: the PD-PRO-Q. The release reads:
Photonis Defense Releases Ultralight 4G Night Vision Goggles
LANCASTER, Pa., Dec. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ – Photonis, a world leader in state-of-the-art night vision Image Intensifier Tubes for military and commercial applications, has released its Photonis Defense Professional (PD-PRO) series of night vision goggles built around their 16mm and hybrid 18mm 4G filmless image intensifier tubes. The end results are one of the USA’s smallest, lightest and best performing night vision systems. These systems will hit the market in time for the holiday season and are aimed at professionals and consumers who require military grade equipment so they have the ability to see at night for safety, security, or scientific reasons.
A night vision system is an essential component for night operations in which the user must be able to see without the benefit of additional lighting. The PD-PRO series of night vision systems offer the most advanced night vision capability available, providing vital awareness of uneven terrain, natural obstacles and situational awareness of potential threats. Photonis Defense’s extremely lightweight, compact goggles and monoculars help reduce neck and shoulder strain commonly associated with heavier and larger military based 18mm systems. They are equipped with advanced capabilities such as out-of-band detection, otherwise known as extended bandwidth, allowing users to see 30 percent more of the available light spectrum than can be obtained with current military issued night vision gear. This enables the user to see infrared and laser illuminators that cannot be detected with standard military issue night vision goggles.
The PD-PRO series is the first branded system from Photonis Defense and will only be available in the United States, both for individuals and distributors. The PD-PRO series consists of the PD-PRO-Q (a 4-tube goggle using a hybrid-18mm 4G filmless image intensifier tube), PD-PRO-16B (a binocular), and the PD-PRO-16M (a monocular device). Both the 16B and 16M are built around Photonis’ revolutionary 4G 16mm filmless image intensifier tubes, which are 40 percent less volume than standard 18mm based systems. Photonis 4G technology enables a clean and crisp image from edge to edge, greatly reduced HALO, superior resolution and contrast. Photonis 4G based products are used internationally and in all NATO countries, providing superior detection, recognition, and identification of threats across a variety of challenging conditions, including counterterrorism, military operations, law enforcement, and environmental resources.
Extensive testing by Tier 1 operational forces was conducted before the branded systems were deemed ready for the US market. Technical challenges faced included the increased emphasis on urban counter terrorism activities in which lighting conditions can change instantly from pitch blackness to brightly lit environments. The PD-PRO series employs the fastest Auto-Gating on the market enabling operators to see even when the goggles are exposed to bright flashes of light such as explosions, muzzle flash, or when moving from dark rooms into bright sunlight. Thus, the PD-PRO series of night vision goggles greatly increases the ability to detect, recognize, and identify (DRI) threats and operate successfully in all nighttime conditions. Additionally, their unsurpassed performance in urban areas enables this technology to be particularly suitable for law enforcement operations.
“The military and first responder community has been clamoring for smaller and lighter systems for decades,” commented Larry Stack, CEO of Photonis Defense. “With the advent of these 16mm based systems, we are now delivering on a mass scale the smallest, lightest night vision systems in the world to the American market. Our systems provide extreme usability and vital protection for anyone needing a lighter, smaller night vision system,” added Stack.
To guarantee the quality and performance of the PD-PRO series, Photonis Defense employs former Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Police and first responders to help conceptualize, create and test the equipment. The PD-PRO series, especially the PD-PRO-16B and 16M, will also appeal to hunters, naturalists, scientists and outdoor sports enthusiasts seeking superior night vision.
“Form definitely meets function with the PD-PRO series. We have reduced the size and weight of our night vision goggles by as much as 30 percent as compared to larger 18mm versions, while adding a technologically advanced tube that provides a wider field of view and longer battery life,” said Stack. “We are excited to present a superior product line that has exciting implications not only for military, police, fire, and government agencies, but also for hunters, biologists and outdoor enthusiasts,” he added. “This is a product that we envision not only every emergency management department and sporting goods stores to have, but also any individual that is concerned with safety and security.