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  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    The Republic of Pirates
    Posts
    44,905
    Sua...maybe you can elaborate to a degree on the FLIR thing.

    My experience with the OTC units has been that while they can help "locate" a body, they will not help identify a target, nor navigate, nor any of the various things possible with a Gen 3 NV Unit. Moreover, there are no size comparable FLIR units that can be head mounted as far as I know...all must be handheld or weapon mounted. And this last is an very important item, they will not pick up IR thus using it for targeting with a laser is not possible, while it remains impossible to use traditional sights with it. AND, it is possible to thwart the FLIR as well.

    So...IMHO...its a lose, lose for the boots on the ground individual operator.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,703
    Yeah sure..... So FLIR or Forward Looking InfraRed is the "generic" term used to describe most forms of thermal imaging devices, these devices work by detection of infrared radiation (normal night vision actually only amplifies Near Infrared), typically emitted from a heat source (thermal radiation) in the form of very high range of light about 14,000 nanometers (visible light is about 600 nm), then creates a "picture" in the form of video. The technologies within this field have come a very long way over the past decade both in capability and cost. So much so that hand portable thermal devices are within the grasp of the common man. I am going to be generally refering to this class of units rather than some of the emerging technologies that we are seeing in the .Gov/.Mil circles.

    These man portable units however do have limitations that the larger vehicle or aircraft mounted systems don't have particularly in the range department. This is due to several technical factors not the least of which is ability to cool the sensor and the size of the lenses.

    Gabe you are correct that the current commercially available units can locate a warm body. But also have limitations on what they actually can see, for example can't detect thru barriers unless the heat source is in contact with it or is near enough for long enough to heat the barrier.


    • Glass windows are a classic example of barriers that these sensors can't penetrate.
    • Heavy lush vegetation is also problematic, especially for hand held units that lack the ability to "zoom in" sufficiently.
    • Even a barrier such as a simple wool blanket blind can hide an individual provided that there is "dead air" space between the person and the blind.


    Another thing to understand is that all objects have an IR signature of some kind, this means that sometimes when observing thru a thermal device you know that something is there, but your not quite sure what it is....This is how you beat these systems; just like with K9 trackers, you can't beat the sensor rather you fool the operator.

    Don't get me wrong I am not knocking these devices by a long shot, they are a great capability; the sensor can penetrate smoke (if it isn't super heated), several meters of fog, some of the more sensitive units can detect fresh disturbances of earth, vehicles that have recently been driven, as well as buildings that are occupied or empty, and they work during both night and during daylight. One of the biggest tactical benefits of theses systems is that they are "passive" meaning that they don't emit their own signature to anyone else.

    What these devices really bring to the table is a capability to locate suspicious locations the would have previously gone unnoticed or investigated, however it can be difficult to positively ID a target. The ideal deployment of thermal imaging devices it so pair them with a device that sees in the near IR spectrum with very clear visual acuity and the ability to optically zoom.

    Additionally most thermal units don't have as near as clear of a picture (visual acuity) as do standard Night Vision, so for navigation they are inferior. That brings us to some of the commercially available "hybrid" units that blend the input from both IR and Near-IR sensors into a single display I believe that these are the future of this technology but it isn't quite there in the ideal form factor or price range of the common man just yet.
    Last edited by SUA SPONTE; 02-09-2014 at 02:34 PM. Reason: spacing
    Cheers
    T.

    "VICTORIOUS WARRIORS WIN FIRST...
    AND THEN GO TO WAR,
    WHILE DEFEATED WARRIORS GO TO WAR FIRST...
    AND THEN SEEK TO WIN." Sun tzu


  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by SUA SPONTE View Post


    Lanyards. . . . it has also been my experience that the lanyard needs to be “Breakaway” capable. 550 cord will ruin your night when it snags on something while moving dynamically, or someone garrotes you with it (don’t ask me why I know this). . . .

    The neck knife I got from Pat Crawford came with a metal beaded chain for precisely that purpose: so it would break away before strangling you.

    And on a mundane note: I find it helpful to practice navigating in the dark whenever possible. Not using a light or NVD. Accustoming myself to moving in environments where I can't see so well. Sliding my feet instead of lifting them, holding hands in front of eyes to fend off branches, etc. Practicing being in the dark often enough to recognize that 'cone to rod' switch when my own biological 'night vision' kicks in, and everything suddenly appears brighter.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    SE New Mexico
    Posts
    1,044
    Got my Gen III PVS 14 the other day and have been playing around with hand held and helmet mounted. Lots of fun.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    7
    One of the main benefits I see in even a crappy Gen1 model is the passive monitoring of other IR light sources. This an advantage in CQB ops in total darkness where you are defending a position. You can see the opfors IR glow well before it even gets around the corner. The other thing is outdoors the opfor may opt to use IR as a means of comms. If you have a passive nod up, you can see it without being detected. Even with Gen1 you can detect IR far past the useful range of the site pic. Stands out like a street light

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie Doo View Post
    One of the main benefits I see in even a crappy Gen1 model is the passive monitoring of other IR light sources. This an advantage in CQB ops in total darkness where you are defending a position. You can see the opfors IR glow well before it even gets around the corner. The other thing is outdoors the opfor may opt to use IR as a means of comms. If you have a passive nod up, you can see it without being detected. Even with Gen1 you can detect IR far past the useful range of the site pic. Stands out like a street light
    That may be one of the only benefits to gen 1 NV. I first stepped into NV with a crappy ATN gen 1 monocular that I paid a little over $200 for. I was thinking " it's better than nothing, I mean it IS night vision..." it was nearly useless then and truly a joke now that I've stepped into gen 3. I mostly keep it around now just to show people the vast difference between it and useful NV. I try to help people not make the mistake i did by spending a couple hundred on pretty useless kit. Just save the cash up for better gear or spend it on a quality flashlight because it'd be more useful at night.

    I brought them out to the Urban Warfare Weekend with Greg last year and now that I think about it, it was pretty difficult to spot my ir laser past 15 yds. Buy once cry once definitely applies here. But work with what ya got...
    Last edited by Moooks; 04-01-2016 at 09:23 AM.
    "It's a cold world, better pack your own heat!" - Redman


    T
    WOTU Since
    2015

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Southeast Florida
    Posts
    1,534
    After reading through the old posts here from 2014 I'm struck by how fast technology continues to change! Perhaps Gabe and Sua need to update their thoughts based on the latest tech available. For example, clip-on thermal imagers (often referred to as COTI) that are designed to be added to the head-mounted NODs are easily available now. True fusion devices (combine NV with thermal in one unit) are available at least in in weapon-mountable form if you have the $$. And the image quality from thermal devices appears to be much more useful than in the past--from videos I've watched on YouTube it seems that you would have no trouble using them for navigation and some degree of target ID. Here are a few impressive videos I came across:

    This one is NV:



    This is a helmet-mounted thermal device available right now for $6,000:



    This one is really interesting--shows thermal and NV side by side, shows the effect of glass, etc. Demo video starts around 3:30:


  8. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Palmer, Alaska
    Posts
    6,695
    Wow. That third video, comparing NV with thermal, really has me wondering about thermal again. I am still of the opinion that NV is more appropriate for my purposes generally, but there is an arena in which thermal really shines.

    I got to play with Mooks NV at the Urban Warfare class. Once you look through the Gen 3 tube, and then you switch back to the Gen 1, you just want to throw the Gen 1 against the wall. The two are nowhere near the same league. I would go with a cheap thermal over a Gen 1 set-up.

    I'd love to see a video similar to what is above, but done indoors. A variety of indoor scenes would be ideal. The most applicable is a normal residence, but I would also like to see how it performs in a warehouse setting, and in an office with a lot of windows or glass doors.
    Virtute et Armis

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Southeast Florida
    Posts
    1,534
    Went down a YouTube/Internet rabbit trail and found something I'd never seen before--THIS is cool! Check out what they are doing with CMOS sensors to offer color night vision. Basically that means there is no optical light amplification--it's just a sensor taking the picture and then outputting it to a screen or video output signal.





    The description says this is starlight only with no moon:


  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    SE TX
    Posts
    1,574
    Quote Originally Posted by Little Bill View Post
    The neck knife I got from Pat Crawford came with a metal beaded chain for precisely that purpose: so it would break away before strangling you.

    And on a mundane note: I find it helpful to practice navigating in the dark whenever possible. Not using a light or NVD. Accustoming myself to moving in environments where I can't see so well. Sliding my feet instead of lifting them, holding hands in front of eyes to fend off branches, etc. Practicing being in the dark often enough to recognize that 'cone to rod' switch when my own biological 'night vision' kicks in, and everything suddenly appears brighter.
    Several nuggets of good advice, except for sliding the feet. I must respectfully disagree on this one, for moving over many surfaces, with many types of footwear, unless one is facing a deaf opponent. Modification of one's walk, is, of course, a good idea, such as planting the big toe and ball of the foot first, and then slowly rolling the rest of the forefoot/toes into contact, and then planting the heel, slowly and carefully. This is the opposite of the usual practice of planting the heel first. There is much more to it than this, of course, but I am a bit too limited in available time at the moment, to compose a thoughtfully complete description.
    Have Colt, will travel.

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