Quantico Tactical

SHOT Show – BAE Systems

We recently told you that BAE Systems had developed the first mil certified 12 micron thermal sight. I wanted to show what that difference actually means.


To the left is the original 17 micron Universal Thermal Clip-On version XII (UTC XII). To the right is the new 12 micron version. You’re looking at a 30% reduction in objective lens size and a lot less electronics behind it.


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5 Responses to “SHOT Show – BAE Systems”

  1. Bman says:

    Yea the micron measurement is kind of misleading. Looks like a huge improvement.

  2. PTorp says:

    12 micron refers to the pixel size on the microbolometer (image sensor), right? A smaller sensor makes a smaller device, but has a downside, too: a smaller pixel will gather less IR light, in this case about 50% less. I’d like to see a comparison of image quality between the two.

    • SSD says:

      How do those bigger pixels look on your TV?

      • PTorp says:

        Smaller pixels on a TV look sharper because they aren’t just smaller, there are more of them, too. This new 12µm microbolometer has the same 640×480 resolution as the 17µm one. Despite this, your TV analogy doesn’t really work, because displaying an image is a totally different game than gathering light to create an image.
        Think of it like this: do you get a better radio signal with a tiny antenna or a big one? Duh, right? A microbolometer (or a CCD/CMOS sensor in a camera) is like that, only with infrared light instead of radio waves. When you’re trying to see in the dark, the number of photons your sensor gathers matters a *lot*.
        There’s actually a lot more to this, and I’m glossing-over stuff for brevity. If you’d like a better explanation, let me know in your reply and I’ll send something to your contact address.

        • SSD says:

          I might get a better signal with a tiny antenna. I can tell you that I am going to get a better image from a 12 micron sensor than a 17 micron sensor. However, feel free to send it to SSD and I’ll read it.