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Thermal Imaging Scopes

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by The Last Confederate, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. 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.
  2. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Last edited: Aug 9, 2004
  3. SOT_II

    SOT_II Well-Known Member

    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 TWS...it 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.
  4. Beren

    Beren Moderator Emeritus

    Anyone know the going rate for the SpecterIR? That looks like a great toy to purchase at some point. :)
  5. VG

    VG Well-Known Member

    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....

    Senator Jefferson Davis, May 7, 1860
  6. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

    "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.
  8. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    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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