BAE Systems has unveiled several new technologies designed to help soldiers detect, observe and engage the enemy during both day and night.
The systems, produced by BAE’s US Oasys subsidiary, which was acquired by the defence giant last year, are based on thermal imaging technology and include binoculars, a monocular imaging device and a light weapon thermal sight clip-on.
Demonstrated at this week’s DSEi show in London, the binoculars, which are uncooled to provide a more manageable package for soldiers in theatre, can be held with one hand. Their controls are inspired by video game controllers and are intended to be aimed at a generation that has grown up with computer games. The binoculars are functional within six seconds of being switched on.
BAE’s clip-on thermal weapon sight is intended to be smaller, lighter and cheaper than its competitors, first generation thermal sights. It can be used for sniper missions, and at short ranges has a mode that enables it to compress the point of view, which maintains a soldier’s vision. It can also be used as a standalone optical device.
The universal thermal monocular is small enough to be worn around the neck. Like the other devices, it features an infrared laser and a visual laser to detect and track targets during the day or night. Also like the other systems, it can run on a single battery although it has the capacity for several. Bobby McCreight of BAE said: “Every device we make will run on one cell.” Some 6,000 orders for the thermal monocular have been processed, McCreight said.
Oasys is based in Manchester, New Hampshire. McCreight said the company had worked at a kind of “Skunkworks for optics” prior to its acquisition by BAE. The deal had not changed the way in which the company operated, he added, with a strong focus on R&D. “They have not changed the way we do business,” he said.