The ability to ‘see’ at night adds immensely to a military or homeland security force’s operational success against an enemy. French company Bertin (Stand 07-B40) is offering its innovative FusionSight night vision device, developed with Photonis. The company stated: “To win in close combat missions under increasing global terrorist threats, the ability to use the night as your ally has become a priority.”
The compact monocular device enables infantry commanders and special forces to operate efficiently in the field at night when facing hidden or camouflaged enemies. It combines a colour low-light sensor with a thermal imaging sensor to enhance situational awareness. This is achieved by providing the user with options to use a thermal image, optical colour image or a fused thermal and full colour image, which can also be recorded.
Making use of the Photonis colour imaging sensor, the first image is recorded in colour in extreme low-light conditions (~10 mlx) without additional illumination. The second image is recorded by a high-resolution thermal imaging sensor that can detect in any night condition (down to 1 mlx). The embedded real-time image processor automatically selects key information from each sensor, allowing the user to see in pitch darkness better than in broad daylight. The image can be recorded and saved as a digital file.
A significant advantage is that the FusionSight can detect through smoke, other obscurants and in deep night with a thermal sensor, while the colour imaging sensor provides an optical colour image that can detect through windows with sufficient resolution to allow positive identification.
The combined view of thermal and colour imaging is critical in urban environments or inside structures where little ambient light and multiple barriers offer concealment potential, and it is also useful for search and rescue missions to locate missing persons and casualties.