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Enhance Tank Battle Readiness with Thermal Imaging


3 mins


Opgal staff writers

published published

November 23, 2016



The Battlefield is an Unforgiving Terrain

Vision enhancement technology has multiple applications on the battlefield. Tanks are some of the most formidable fighting machines, yet even they are susceptible to ambush. To guard against the dangers of enemy fire, tanks rely on highly advanced technology in the form of thermal imaging. A tank is an impressive military machine, but it is also a huge target with a virtual bull’s-eye painted on it. RPG’s (rocket propelled grenades), landmines, and IED’s are enemy #1 for tanks. While modern-day tanks are typically outfitted with the most sophisticated technology, limited visual capabilities expose tanks to enemy fire. Tank operators readily communicate with central command and other friendlies to get a feel for the battleground layout. However, the tank crews need to be able to have situational awareness of the types of dangers that are lurking in the shadows.

To counter all of these threats, tanks and their crews can benefit from things like Thermal Gunner Sight Kits. By equipping tanks with these devices, gunners enjoy better visuals for identifying and acquiring targets. Of course, there are many other options including Thermal Commander Sights which are fitted as peri-telescopes and are ideal for reconnaissance and tagging of targets at close range. Commander Sights are designed to provide the tank commander with all the necessary information needed to achieve tactical objectives while safeguarding the crew. Long-range observation is possible with thermal cameras that are equipped with dual-field of view lenses and narrow-field of view lenses.

What determines how effective a tank is?

One would be remiss for thinking that an armored military machine such as a tank is impervious to assaults. While tanks are certainly the most imposing terrestrial attack vehicles, they are vulnerable at some level. A tank is only effective as a military machine if the tank crew has eyes all around. That’s where thermal imaging devices prove extremely useful. These cameras do not rely on clear visibility or daylight to identify potential threats before they become life hazards. Thermal imaging cameras are capable of “seeing” heat sources – hot or cold – under environmental conditions that would be impenetrable to the naked eye. Zero visibility conditions have zero impact on these cameras. Armored vehicles can be retrofitted with highly specialized devices that enhance their crews overall survivability in the battlefield. Thermal imaging cameras can be included on refurbished vehicles or even added as an upgrade to new vehicles.

Tactical and Strategic Mobility

The effectiveness of tanks includes their firepower ability, their mobility and their protection. Naturally, the firepower is the tank’s ability to hit and destroy enemy targets wherever they are. The protective ability of a tank is of paramount importance. If the tank is able to withstand enemy fire and protect the crew inside, it fares well. A tank performs best when it is not under enemy fire, but if it is it must protect its occupants and hit back hard with its firepower ability. Perhaps the most important aspect is a tanks ability to get from point A to point B. This refers to the mobility of a tank.

Every battlefield terrain is unique, and the tank must be able to maneuver across diverse terrain and tactically position itself for battle. Strategic mobility refers to something entirely different – the ability to transport a tank from one point to another on the battlefield by rail, by sea or perhaps by air. While a tank is mobile on the battlefield, the crew needs to know what’s going on outside. Since they cannot see in the conventional sense, they rely on highly sophisticated visual technology to guide them safely through dangerous terrain.

Visual aids such as thermal imaging cameras are superbly suited to being the “eyes on the ground” under various conditions of difficult visibility– rain, sleet, snow, sand storms, blackouts, and even heavy enemy fire. Nowadays, tanks are required to operate in all-weather battlefield environments, and there is no substitute for improved situational awareness. Thermal imaging cameras certainly provide the necessary technological innovation to achieve this end.