Welcome to Friday Night Lights. This week on FNL SHOT 2023 we take a look at some of the hidden gems regarding night vision and thermal. There will be more with dedicated articles for some companies but this is a list of things you might not have seen covered so I decided to group them together in this article.
These guys are new, not just for FNL SHOT 2023, but in general. They have an interesting remote battery pack for night vision and possibly thermal device. They have integrated solar charging.
You can see the prototype above. It is called Helios. Here is their refined prototype with a continuous solar panel mohawk. They plan to upgrade this with a flexible solar panel in the future that way it can fit any helmet profile.
Alpine Steel also has a battery pack with integrated solar panel. It is called the “SNVPS Tanatiuh” battery pack. That is a bit of mouthful but it has potential. This is for people who have day time missions that extend into the night for multiple days. Now your battery pack can recharge during the day. Full charge takes about 24 hours. It has a 3500 mAh battery and on paper it should last around 40 hours.
The battery pack has a charge meter on the bottom. It will work with all the common connectors like LEMO, Fischer, and USB for any device you plan on helmet mounting.
Thales was out at SHOT Show. They didn’t really have anything new but they did have some stuff out I have not seen in person. This is the O-NYX. It replaced the MINIE which replaced the LUCIE. It is a smaller more compact biocular.
Here is the Minie-D which has a thermal clip on. rather than injecting the thermal image into objective, they inject it in the light path somewhat like the PVS-21 COTM. The Thermal is Made by SAGEM/SAFRAN who makes the COTI.
They also had their XTRAIM thermal red dot. Very similar to the Steiner and InfiRay thermal red dots. However the demo unit was not at the booth at the time. But it looks like it has the same performance and issues the competitors have. No pricing as “we don’t disclose pricing. This is for MIL/LE sales only”
Norotos has something new for FNL SHOT 2023. A PVS-14 bridge that works with their Dual Dovetail Adapter (DDA).
It is a simple light weight fixed bridge with dovetail shoes that grab onto the DDA. The bridge does not articulate or have PD adjustment. But the DDA have built in PD adjustment for one of the dovetails.
Norotos’ DDA bridge will retail for just $135 MSRP.
ARA was at the Fischer Connectors booth. They had their ARC4 Recon on display. This is the device that makes augmented reality possible for the military. You see all those videos of way points being projected into the FOV of the night vision? This is what makes that happen.
The ARC 4 Recon connects to a EUD (End User Device) typically a Samsung smart phone that has ATAK. Fischer Connectors makes this Keystone 6 Tactical hub to help manage the power and data for all your devices. Including the ARC 4 Recon. The helmet mounted device is what measures your head position so it can adjust the image to your head position It costs over $10k USD. Not including the viewer to see the image
ARC 4 Recon is viewed through that day imager you see mounted on the Wilcox mount.
There is a beam splitter that allows you to see through while still projecting the information you need from ATAK. Like way points and compass headings. Also teammate icons can show up when you look at them.
The viewer is around $8500. They have a fiber optic projector that injects this image into analog night vision like a COTI just with out the thermal image. They have data cables that can connect to an ECOTI and you use the ECOTI to inject the visual information through your goggle.
ACT In Black
ACT has some new things for this year. First up is their DTNVS W-Angle (wide angle). They have made adjustable arms that pan out 6º on each pod. Which allows you to go from 40º FOV to 52º FOV. This will be released later this year and will be around $500 more than a regular DTNVS. Unfortunately it is not backwards compatible so you cannot install these in your current DTNVS housings.
The W-Angle arms are machined aluminum.
ACT is also making a variable gain DTNVS. It uses the 3 pin style manual gain for Photonis tubes or other compatible tubes with the three contact points. Both the W-Angle and variable gain DTNVS will be available near the end of the year.
The wide angle DTNVS had the 50º FOV lenses by ACT In Black.
Here is a 40º FOV I overlaid ontop of the 50º FOV. You can see how much smaller it is. However the 50º eyepieces have a narrower exit pupil. So when your pupil is off axis the image gets blurry. I do not think these will work well in the wide angle DTNVS.
There is more to come night vision and and thermal related but thank you for check out FNL SHOT 2023.