New Thermal Sight

StrategyPage reports,

The army has finally found a portable (three pounds) thermal sight that it can mount on assault rifles.

Specs and photos at the link. Strangely, I thought we had night sights for the M-16 years ago. And, indeed, a non-portable sight would seem rather unhelpful.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Fersboo says:

    Thermals are so much better than a night vision scope. It makes tracking a target easier. Just follow the heat bloom. I should go read the article to find out if works as well as my Bradley’s thermals did.

  2. Tim Worstall says:

    Fersboo’s right.
    “Thermal” and “night ” sights are completely different technologies.
    One follows heat, the other amplifies what little light there is around. Night sights actually use a plug of germanium ( an opaque metal ) to amplify the light.
    Just as an idiot little anecdote : I remember being shown round the Soviet night sight factory a decade or so ago, ( well, ex Soviet ) just before we bought their stock of germanium. They didn’t need it any more as the Russian Army wasn’t buying.

  3. capt joe says:

    Exactly, a night scope is essentialy a photon multiplier. It increases the amount of visible reflected light present that is at an energy level too low to activate the rods in your eye.

    A thermal sight shows light in a non visible spectrum, namely the infrared, to be seen. That allows one to see generated light from the heat in an object, such as a person or a vehicle idling or just recently stopped. This is a lot harder to do than just photo multiply. Most detectors tend to be quite large. This will be a definite inprovement over a night site. Enemy combatants would show up like a flare against the background foliage. Depending on the accuracy, we could see them through foliage.