Armored vehicle operators all suffer from a key issue. The better the armor, the less visibility they have. In this business, visibility can mean the difference between life and death, and better visibility through thermal channel upgrades is often the deciding factor in mission outcomes. Ideally, crews would have a 360-degree field of view of the situation outside the vehicle, while remaining safe inside. Thermal imaging is a technology that creates visibility based on emission of heat rather than light. The method has proven invaluable for crews working in armored vehicles and MBTs facing high-pressure situations in all lighting conditions. Security has been brought to a new level with driving vision enhancement, but as with any other technology there are constant updates, and this calls for a deeper understanding of options in order to choose the best thermal channel upgrade provider to keep your fleet relevant.
What to look for in a thermal channel upgrade
When installing new equipment, or updating existing channels, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Cost –Thermal upgrades are costly, but the right thermal channel upgrade provider will give you options that fit your needs and your budget. Cooled thermal channels can provide clear vision for tens of kilometers but have a price tag to match this capability. Many high end uncooled systems can image for up to 15 kilometers while costing a fraction of the price of a cooled system. A quality integration provider will assess your needs and suggest cost effective options that meet them. While there are budget options available, in some cases it might be preferred to invest a bit more to get better up to date thermal imaging equipment for the fleet from a trusted provider.
Ruggedization – Modern urban warfare puts high demands on thermal equipment. It must be rugged to resist wear and tear, and the kind of abuse that comes with the territory. They should be able to withstand vibrations and tough environments. Shocks going through the vehicle should not pose a threat to the lifesaving cameras that must continue to work throughout battle or search and rescue efforts. The cameras must be able to handle explosions as well as flares to allow the crew to forge on with a successful mission.
Total visibility – When talking about thermal cameras and visibility, it is not only a matter of providing imaging through tough conditions. The cameras should also provide a 360° view with crystal clear real-time imaging. Since modern warfare demands fast and total understanding of new surroundings, this is vital information that must be trusted on the spot for a proper and timely reaction.
Reliability – Since the crew is essentially directing the vehicle based on the information coming from the on board thermal cameras, they must be extremely reliable. Often decisions must be made very quickly and this relies on the equipment to give the right information. There is simply no time to go back and analyze the feed again. Your thermal cameras must come from a leader in the field, a service oriented solution provider with years of experience and proven results.
These are some of the key points to consider when choosing a thermal channel upgrade provider for your armored vehicles and MBT fleets, but let’s not forget about the importance of support. As the new equipment is installed and integrated with existing tools, questions often arise. It is very important to have the technical support that helps to make the process of the upgrade easy and smooth. Opgal has 30 years of experience in the field providing battle-proven solutions for thermal channel upgrades. For more information contact us today.