04 May 2011 by defenceWeb
The South African Army is purchasing night vision tubes worth R3 million from vendor ECM Technologies. The order was placed last month. It adds to the some R238 million spent on night vision equipment since 2007. In addition to the R241 223 912.08 spent on new equipment, some R17 241 102.51 has been spent on maintenance and repair. The equipment replaces dated technology based on first and second generation image intensifiers. The acquisitions appear separate from Project Cytoon that is seeing the SA Army Tactical Intelligence Corps gaining 14 Thales Squire ground surveillance radars and 65 Thales Sophie thermal imagers.
Thermal imagers detect radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Since most objects emit such radiation, thermal imagers allow their users to "see" their surroundings with or without visible light. The warmer the object, the brighter the object appears in the imager. Humans, with an internal body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius tend to stand out against their surroundings, which are mostly cooler. This also allows thermal imagers to spot camouflaged targets. Many modern thermal imagers include an eye-safe laser rangefinder and pointer, a compass, GPS and digital camera. The Thales Sophie can spot humans at over 4km, tanks at 10km, helicopters at 12km and jet fighters at 16km, Thales says.