17 January 2014 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support
British troops are to benefit from up to £53 million of new equipment to help them identify targets more clearly.
MOD has invested in new night-vision and laser equipment that will enable soldiers to spot potential threats earlier and better protect themselves against the enemy during day and night operations.
A state-of-the-art laser light that can illuminate targets from up to 800 metres away will be provided to all infantry soldiers. Weighing just 244 grams, it fits onto the SA80 rifle to give more accurate firing in low-light conditions.
And more than 15,000 new lightweight, ergonomic binoculars have been ordered to be used alongside the upgraded laser lights. Designed to be easier to hold, the new models are 50% lighter but still offer excellent magnification to give better situational awareness.
MOD has also invested in more than 4,000 additional head-mounted night-vision systems specifically for the Army Reserve. They allow soldiers to operate in poor light or in dark tunnels and buildings and better identify both threats and other personnel.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne visited the Infantry Trials Development Unit in Warminster, Wiltshire, yesterday (16 January) to see the new kit being put through its paces. He said:
The multi-million-pound investment makes clear MOD’s commitment to equipping our armed forces, including reservists, with world-class battle-winning technology.
These binoculars, laser-aimers and night-vision goggles will improve situational awareness and reduce collateral damage across the battlefield.
Lance Corporal Herbline Biscette of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland tested the equipment before it was delivered to forces while working for the Infantry Trials Development Unit.
He explained that the new kit will help soldiers to stay accurate and heighten awareness in difficult, low-light conditions:
Being able to mark our targets from so far away means that we can prepare for the situations ahead and do the job with confidence.
This kit also gets tested virtually to destruction; it gets dropped from height, submerged, blasted with sand, left out in minus 20 degrees – all conditions that we might have to face when using it, so we know that it won’t let us down.