Night vision

Night vision has come a long way over recent years. Developed from the original Infra-red units to the latest state-of-the-art light intensifying units, there are so many different variations that this whole sector needs some explanation.

Modern light intensifying night vision units use any available light, even just starlight or light from a distant town and intensify that light to provide you with enough to see in the dark. You have probably seen image intensifying films on news reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. The image is always a subtle green colour and any subjects eyes seem to light up.

As with many products originally designed for the Military night vision has now become widely available on the domestic market. People use them for viewing night life, security guards use them and of course the marine version is indispensable for sailors, and now they are even cheap enough for kids to just use them for fun.

The price of night vision varies enormously and there is a reason for this. You can now buy 1st, 2nd, 2nd + or 3rd generation night vision units. 1st generation are the cheapest but as you go up each generation you will find the optics and the amount of light intensification improves greatly. This means that you will see a lot more, and much more clearly, from a 3rd generation unit than you would from a 1st generation unit.

Night Vision Yellow Marine 2As an example our 1st generation marine night vision unit (NVMAR2XY) is available for £250.00 (Excluding VAT). The Tornado (NVTOR) is a head-mounted biocular unit (One lens but 2 eyepieces) and is 2nd generation hence the price goes up we sell it for £2,780.00 (Excluding VAT). Then you have the Troop 88 (NVTROOP) which is a 3rd generation hand held monocular which we sell for £2,800.00 (Excluding VAT).

So you see when you are looking to buy night vision you need to know just what you are getting for your money and why the price varies so much.

In addition to the hand held and head mounted units described above there are also day/night rifle scopes which can be used for hunting either in daylight or night time conditions. We sell one of these units (DIDNISCO) for £2,800.00 (Excluding VAT) and it has proven to be extremely Popular with many of our overseas customers.

Of course night vision was originally designed for the military and is still used by them regularly. One of the problems about night time military operations is the danger of confusing your own team with the enemy. This is why infra-red strobe units are so essential. An ISU (ISUSTRO), which we sell for £24.00 (Excluding VAT) can be attached to a helmet or to clothing and sends out an infra-red flash which can only be seen when viewed through night vision and is completely invisible to the naked eye. Infra-red strobe units are also an essential item for people going hiking or mountaineering. In an emergency they can be used to help rescuers pinpoint your position. There are a number of different ISU’s available and one of the most sophisticated is the TLS Personal Marker / Strobe Unit (TLSSTRO) which we sell for £99.00 (Excluding VAT) and has a number of different functions that users find extremely useful.

Finally there is Thermal Imaging equipment. Thermal imaging has been used for many years now by the Military, Fire brigades and the Police.

Thermal Imaging ScopeThermal imaging uses the heat signature from a target to create an image which enables Firemen to locate victims through dense smoke. Many of you will have seen, on TV, images taken from Police helicopters where they find criminals hiding in the woods or Search and Rescue pilots find people in distress by the heat signature put out by their body heat. The good news is that Thermal Imaging equipment, whilst still expensive, is slowly coming down in price. We sell a sophisticated hand held thermal imager (THERMIMAGE) for £11,000.00 (Excluding VAT). Yes, it is expensive, but for professionals who really need this equipment it’s worth its weight in gold.

Jane Bond