Scientists of the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok created thermal sight. The joint development of the Design and Technological Institute of Applied Microelectronics SB RAS and «Progresstech" was presented by Alexander Golitsyn at a start-campus Forum "Interra" held recently in Novosibirsk.
The device is intended for observation and aimed fire in low visibility conditions such as light availability and total darkness, smoke, fog. Externally, the device looks like a regular video camera, but, in contrast, captures the invisible far infrared radiation (also known as heat) from the observed objects. The device allows you to distinguish between what is in front of my eyes — a crowd of people, transportation, and other sources of heat at a distance of one and a half kilometers. The only obstacle to the work of the thermal imager is a cold shower because the water is opaque to thermal radiation. The main difference between the thermal sight of other similar devices is that the sight, except for observation of the terrain, is designed for aimed shooting — it is mounted on small arms, including heavy caliber, so the aim should be resistant to high shock loads. Resolution thermal imaging matrix of 640 × 480 pixels.
In the Novosibirsk Russia compete sight are developing CRI "Cyclone" — sight, "Shaheen" and the thermal sight of Rostov optical-mechanical plant. According to the developers of Novosibirsk, the resolution "Shahin" worse (160 × 120 and 320 × 240 elements), and its structure is not designed for large caliber weapons. At the sight of Rostov same lens design does not allow to use the device in a variety of weather conditions — the temperature must re-focus lens, and due to its design at the device shifts the axis of sight. Both sights competitors too narrow field of view, which is why the targets with known location of shoot easy, but finding the enemy on the ground with a pre unknown coordinates in a short time is almost impossible.
At the core of the device is sensitive to thermal radiation uncooled photodetector matrix of amorphous silicon. This product uses a matrix of French production. The housing, the lens and the electronics module — own design.
The latter will explain in more detail. Electronic module receives an image with a photodetector matrix into an electronic signal, and improves. Image processing takes place over the entire frame in real time using various algorithms. In addition, it is possible to produce the inverse image and scaled it to display the sight and throw on a personal computer via USB. In the same module implements a built-in sight ballistic calculator is needed for automatic entry of amendments to the sign of the impact with the target range, weather conditions, type of weapons used and the type of cartridge used. The device has low power consumption — by four AA batteries, he can operate continuously for four hours.
Scientists hope that this sight will be in demand by the Russian army, which, according to them, is required annually at least 100 thermal imaging sights. To date, they have collected 10 instruments and sent them to the test. In addition, about 10 copies a year would require the civilian market. Alexander Golitsyn referred to an arrangement with a commercial firm to supply the device in the weapon shops for hunters. They will begin after the passage of the instrument required testing and acceptance of scope for service.
Meanwhile, the overseas market is growing thermal imaging sights. For example, for the U.S. Army in the last five years has purchased 80,000 thermal imaging devices for different purposes, some of which are sights.
"In the Russian Army thermal imaging sights for small arms yet — foreign companies do not sell products in Russia and dual-use technology. Those foreign sights that can be purchased — made in China, France, Israel, — suitable only for civilian use as a hunting rifle scopes — heavy calibers they do not hold. Similar to a gun sight can be put, but on a large-caliber rifle or machine gun — no longer exists " — Says the developer.
Novosibirsk sight is not cheap — the buyer will have to pay 1.5 million rubles per copy. But maybe it’s worth it. In any case, that device that showed Alexander Golitsyn has nastrel 12,000 rounds of machine, 5000 — from a heavy machine gun "cliff" and 7 shots from a grenade launcher. And it looks like new. There are cheaper thermal imaging devices that use the rescuers and builders, their price starts from 200 rubles. But this vision devices, not the sights. "If you put in the trunk of a regular imager, it will collapse", — Says the young scientist.
The developers already have a bead on the terms of reference agreed in the Russian Defense Ministry and the Interior Troops, is and test reports.
The creation of thermal imagers were also engaged by Soviet scientists, but at the time there were technical difficulties — the difficulty of manufacture, the need for liquid nitrogen cooled detector. Then the installation of the thermal imager for small arms speech and did not go. Later in the U.S. have come up with an uncooled matrix, and the production of light portable thermal imagers beginning to develop. USSR at that time no longer existed. Due to lack of funding, own uncooled thermal imaging matrix in Russia for a long time was not.
Recently, the Institute of Semiconductor Physics in Akademgorodok, have developed an uncooled microbolometer array — similar to the foreign matrix. Because of the domestic production of custom-made matrix of the characteristics are still far inferior to foreign analogues, but, nevertheless, this is another step towards a fully domestic imager.
Thermal Matrix Development Institute of Semiconductor Physics
Tatiana Pichugin, "Science and Technology of the Russian Federation"
Photos provided by LLC "Progresstech"