Friday Night Lights: Foreign Night Vision

    Well hello there fellow night vision enthusiast and welcome to Friday Night Lights. FNL is brought to you by ATN Corp, manufacturers of night vision and thermal optics like the THOR LT. As with all of our sponsored series, Friday Night Lights will continue to bring you unbiased news and reviews from a variety of companies. Today we will take a look at some interesting and old foreign night vision designs.

    Foreign Night Vision @TFB:

    Foreign Night Vision

    Yes, I am very American-centric when it comes to night vision. I am an American and I have access to some of the best night vision technology on the planet. However, you can see a commonality in design when it comes to US night vision systems. It is fun looking at night vision outside of the US for good or bad. They can be interesting to look at and imagine how they work or just laugh at their ridiculousness.

    Most of the photos you will see come from a Facebook page called S21K. On that Facebook page is a photo album titled “Old School Night Vision Devices”. Many of them are foreign night vision or what looks like US night vision used by foreign militaries.

    Russian Foreign Night Vision

    The first one up is the NPO-1. There is a lot going on in this photo. First of all, the NPO-1 appears to be a dual tube night vision goggle from the late 90s. The soldier in the photos is holding an AS VAL with what looks like an optic on a tall mount. But that is only a first glance. According to S21K:

    It is the CL-1 (1K229) laser that was issued alongside the NPO-1 night vision goggles. I have been trying to track down some more info on them. Adopted around 1989. The development was done by SKB TNV (Special Design Bureau for Night Equipment.) The manufacturer was ROMZ (Rostov Optical Mechanical Plant.)

    Russian foreign night vision

    There is very little information on the NPO-1 and even less about the CL-1 laser. However, we do see it show up in this photo mounted on an AK. The soldier has the classic Police/Military mustache and is rocking some form of binocular similar to a PVS-7.

    While no longer part of the Soviet Union, Belarus made some night vision. The biocular above looks like the one below. It is the NV/G-10M.

    What is really interesting is the low-profile biocular on the left in the advertisement below. It looks like a Simrad GN1. Belomo calls it the NV/G-14.

    However, unlike the Simrad GN1, the Belarus Belomo NV/G-14 looks to be a mirrored replica of the GN-1. The objective lens is on the right side of the user rather than the left like the photo below. And it is not a simple act of rotating the GN-1 180º, since the skull crusher mount is still near the objective lens on the NV/G-14. The photo below is interesting as the user has the Austrian flag on his left shoulder and what appears to be some MP5 variant without a magazine.

    French Foreign Night Vision

    I always have a thing for offset bioculars. I still want a LUCIE but these are pretty cool too. They are made by Sopelem. The TN2-1 is a biocular somewhat like a PVS-7. It is powered by two AA batteries but the objective lens is positioned over the user’s right eye. Even though this was designed and manufactured before red dots, it would be great for passive aiming.

    Here is another photo of a similar binocular design but I do now know who makes it. I was told it might be called the Klara and might be made in the Czech Republic. The photo below shows a FAMAS rifle with what appears to be some sort of aiming device mounted to the barrel. It could be a laser or infrared light.

    Here are some more oddball Foreign Night Vision bioculars. Unfortunately, these photos do not have any context or comments on the S21K page on Facebook. They all share a similar design concept where the skull crusher is more like a face mask that surrounds the entire face to hold the night vision.

    Foreign Night Vision Of  The Now & Near Future

    While the US ARMY has the IVAS program, China PLA is working on their own augmented reality goggle system.

    Below are photos from Delft Sensor Systems HNV-3D prototype goggles, made in Belgium around 1999. It looks somewhat similar to a Steiner PVS-21 but instead of beamsplitters, it uses holographic optical elements.

    Foreign Night Vision Wrap Up

    There isn’t a whole lot of information on these night vision devices. Many of them are long since discontinued or shrouded in mystery simply because they are so obscure and in many cases are not sold to civilians. If you are familiar with any of these devices please comment below. Or if you own some of these devices, please share photos and info.

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    Nicholas C

    Steadicam Gun Operator
    Night Vision & Thermal Aficionado
    Flashlight/Laser Enthusiast
    USPSA competitor

    Any questions please email him at [email protected]