For military operations to be successful today, individual soldiers and combat units as a whole need state-of-the-art equipment for enhanced vision capabilities day and night. The challenge DRDC set for us was to design a device that can detect a target before it becomes a potential threat to soldiers and quickly identify this target before taking action in order to reduce soldiers’ vulnerability and thereby increase their chances of survival.
In collaboration with DRDC, INO developed an intensified thermal/visible imaging system that combines uncooled infrared imaging technology (8–12 µm) and intensified imagers (0.4–0.9 µm) in a single device. Image intensification is a complementary technology to thermal vision, which makes it possible to identify targets by improving vision in conditions of partial and or near-total darkness. Thermal vision requires no illumination, which allows for passive mode observation. In addition, infrared imaging is particularly well adapted to detecting targets in environments with smoke, dust, mist, fog, or other constraints. Combining both of these technologies in a single device delivers maximum effective range.
INO custom designed imbricated coaxial catadioptric objectives to reduce the device’s weight. The adoption of a Schmidt-Cassegrain optical configuration allowed us to achieve a wide field of vision. We increased the resolution and reduced aliasing on the IR channel through microscanning. The combination of thermal and intensified imaging improved the target identification range. The targeting system can also be equipped with a wireless communication link for image transfers and a number of communications options depending on the client’s needs.