Thermal Imaging Scopes


The Last Confederate
August 8, 2004, 11:53 PM
Does anyone know a link to the companies that currently produce thermal imaging scopes for rifles? I know they cost several thousand dollars, but cost is no issue for me and I am seeking the best. Thank you.

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August 9, 2004, 12:07 AM
You are thinking of a Thermal Scope.

Sometimes the right word makes all the difference.

During this search I found several still marked "military/police use only" while others suggested the technology is no longer classified.

August 9, 2004, 12:33 AM
Ummm US inventory is: scope, thermal imaging or in some cases weaponsite, theremal imaging...thermal scopes are defacto thermal imaging scopes.
The terms are interchangeable.

That being said these systems are not to be confused with Active IR and starlight scopes. These Thermal imaging systems are entirely passavie, very much like the passive FLIR systems. They only read differences in IR energy...they do not boradcast IR energy nor do they enhance ambient light.

AN PAS/13 TWS is probably the best fielded unit out there now and is part of the first gen Land Warrior system.

BAE systems in MA makes what may be the next generation of remains to be seen, it's called a LTWS. If you are law ENforcement I can get you demo units of either to use for a month or so...if not, I can't help you.

August 9, 2004, 11:09 AM
Anyone know the going rate for the SpecterIR? That looks like a great toy to purchase at some point. :)

August 9, 2004, 01:49 PM
He doesn't want to buy any technology from Yankees: he's the Last Confederate, after all, Massah. As the Soldier's Center that constitutes the Army's primary R&D function in this area is in Natick, MA, that will be a problem....

Resolved , That negro slavery, as it exists in fifteen states of this Union, composes an important portion of their domestic institutions, inherited from their ancestors, and existing at the adoption of the Constitution, by which it is recognized as constituting an important element in the apportionment of power among the states, and that no change of opinion or feeling on the part of the non_slaveholding states of the Union, in relation to this institution, can justify them, or their citizens, in open or covert attacks thereon, with a view to its overthrow; and that all such attacks are in manifest violation of the mutual and solemn pledge to protect and defend each other given by the states respectively on entering into the constitutional compact which formed the Union, and are a manifest breach of faith, and a violation of the most solemn obligations.
Senator Jefferson Davis, May 7, 1860

August 9, 2004, 03:48 PM
I never knew these to be classified. Many things are "military only" to discouragebad guys I guess. Remember that thermal sights are used for firefighting, industrial uses, etc.

They are hideously expensive. Last I looked $10,000 wouldn't get you in the same room with one. I can't even consider decent (Gen 3 or 3+) NV. I would love a PVS-14.

August 9, 2004, 08:02 PM
"Remember that thermal sights are used for firefighting, industrial uses, etc. "

Not that this has anything to do with the original thread, but we use thermal imaging in firefighting. We got some kind of a grant and have a terminal imaging "camera" on most of our units. I got to participate in a very small way when they were evaluating the cameras to see what one they wanted to buy. I got to try something like a half dozen different ones. They are really amazing. We have a drill tower that is made of concrete block. We built a fire in it using old furniture, pallets, and tires. The openings of the building are all sealed and there in no light at all inside. The smoke was so thick that you couldn't see the fire in the same room with you. We fired up the termal imaging cameras and you could have played cards in there. You could see almost as well as if there was no fire and the doors were open.
These things provide all kinds of great features for firefighting. They allow you to locate victims in fires. They allow you to find hidden fires in walls etc. They allow you to find the seat of the fire in heavy smoke conditions. They would allow you to find hot wires (electical shorts inside walls etc.). They could allow you to find people such as when the occupants of a vehicle are ejected during a wreck in a rural area and it is dark...........................
Very interesting and valuable piece of equipment.

August 9, 2004, 10:09 PM
I messed around with a Mitsubishi Thermal Imaging camera in the early 1990s.

It took around 15-20 minutes for the Stirling engine to cool the internals enough for an image to appear. During the cool-down time it was a bit noisy. It was very slick once it was up and running. Like a very high-res B&W camcorder that saw heat instead of light.

Size was too large for a rifle scope. Price was well over $100K.

I understand that differential IR is bringing the cost and size down, but at the expense of resolution. The differential IR imaging results I have seen are pretty miserable in terms of image quality.

IR has some disadvantages. Did you know you can't see through most glass with a thermal imaging viewer? Plastics, including clear plastics, are also opaque.

Here's one for around 12K but the image quality is pretty poor.

If you want something in a weapon sight with resolution comparable to Gen II+ or Gen III/III+ NV you're probably going to get into the $50K+ neighborhood real quick.

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