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Archive for the ‘Optics’ Category

Aimpoint Awarded Follow-Up Contract for Fire Control Systems by US Armed Forces

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Manassas, Virginia – Aimpoint, the originator and worldwide leader in reflex sighting technology, has been awarded a second contract for supply of the Aimpoint® FCS13RE Fire Control Systems to the U.S. Military. The system is currently being deployed as the primary Fire Control on the M3E1 MAAWS lightweight 84mm Carl-Gustaf produced by SAAB Dynamics for use by the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Special Operations Command.

The FCS13RE is a direct view, Dynamic Universal Reflex Sight (DURS) which utilizes an integrated laser range finder and ballistic computer to give the gunner an aiming point corrected for range, type of munition, terrain angle, and environmental conditions. In addition to the 84mm Carl-Gustaf, the system can also be utilized on other weapons including the AT4, 40mm high velocity grenade launchers (Mk19), .50 caliber heavy machine guns (M2), and the M134D Minigun. The FCS13RE provides an extremely high probability of first round hits on both stationary and moving targets during day and night. The system can be enhanced with a magnifier, a thermal imager, and is compatible with all generations of military night vision.

For FCS13RE specs, technical details, and images visit the Aimpoint FCS13RE product page. Any additional information on Aimpoint or other Aimpoint products, visit the company’s webpage.

Bushnell Named Official Optic of Realtree

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

Bushnell to be the Exclusive Optic of Realtree Television and Digital Properties

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas – June 11, 2020 – Bushnell, an industry leader in performance optics, announced today that it has become the “Official Optic” of Realtree. This new agreement expands the partnership between two of the industry’s most iconic hunting brands, with Bushnell optics enjoying exclusive placement across all Realtree television, digital and social channels.

Fans of the Realtree TV and digital properties will have the ability to see the latest Bushnell products in action every week. As the Realtree prostaff sets off in search of every wild game imaginable, viewers will have a front row seat to all the action along with a first-hand account of why these hunters put their trust in Bushnell products. Throughout the season, viewers will get an inside look at Bushnell’s newest products, helpful tips and tricks plus other product insights from the company’s full breadth of optics including: riflescopes, binoculars, rangefinders, spotting scopes and night vision products.

“Hunters know great optics make all the difference for a lot of reasons. This partnership with Bushnell brings their quality optics in Realtree camo to hunters everywhere, and that will make for a lot of successful hunts,” said Realtree Designer and President Bill Jordan.

“At Bushnell, we have made it our primary mission to develop and bring to market quality, purpose-built products to improve our customers outdoor experience,” said Mark Bauman, Director of Optics for Bushnell. “Through our expanded partnership with Realtree, we’re excited that hunters will now have the opportunity to see how our products improve the hunting experience in real world situations across Realtee’s broad offering of quality outdoor programming.”

Bushnell will continue to sponsor both Realtree Outdoors® and Realtree Road Trips® TV in addition to extending its support to Realtree’s Monster Bucks® and across the Realtree 365 network. New video and digital series where viewers can now see Bushnell products include: Midwest Whitetail & Chasing November, Spring Thunder, Black Cloud, Whitetail TV, Pay Dirt, Hunt United, Grigsby and Sea Bucks.

Click here for more information regarding Bushnell’s full line of optics offered in Realtree patterns. 

New Affordable Miniature Variable Power Class I IR Aiming Laser TNVC/Steiner eOptics Collaboration (TOR-MINI IR VPC) in Full Rate Production—Shipping Now!

Friday, June 19th, 2020


Redlands, CA

TNVC is proud to announce that the highly anticipated TNVC/Steiner TOR-MINI IR Variable Power Control IR aiming laser is now in full rate production, and shipping to customers and dealers!

TNVC was the first company to partner with Laser Devices, Inc. (now Steiner eOptics) in 2011 to bring Class I IR aiming lasers to the commercial market for direct retail sales, and we are pleased to be collaborating with them once again to support the commercial market with an innovative and affordable new product, proving that quality Night Vision accessories and IR lasers do not have to be expensive!

With an MSRP of $269 and weighing less than 2 ounces, the TOR-MINI IR was designed to offer a miniaturized, budget friendly Class I IR aiming laser to the market, and is equally at home on pistols, long guns, SMGs and PDWs, and even on thermal devices and spotting scopes! The TOR-MINI IR Variable Power Control features a “step down” feature that allows the user to easily select between 0.7, 0.4, and 0.2 mW outputs by holding down the activation paddle attenuating the aiming dot size and bloom based on range, target size, and ambient lighting conditions.

Learn more and order yours today:


Integrated Visual Augmentation System Update

Friday, June 19th, 2020

Here one of the latest photos of the US Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System, a which fuses image intensification and thermal imaging with Augmented Reality overlays. It’s built by Microsoft.

Interestingly, the form factor is pretty similar to the Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble headborne subsystem from the early 90s.

Here’s an update from the Program Office.

Team IVAS Continues to Deliver Despite COVID Obstacles
“I can absolutely say that today we are on track to meet a fourth quarter ‘21 delivery for our first unit equipped.”
– COL. Chris Schneider, PM IVAS

FORT BELVOIR, Va.– Cutting-edge modernization efforts come with their own set of challenges, and COVID-19 has ensured that there are no exceptions.

Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier’s Project Manager Integrated Visual Augmentation System (PM IVAS) continues to leverage the team’s unique structure, talents, and culture to contribute to the force’s readiness, even with the additional challenges presented by COVID-19.

Mark Stephens, PM IVAS Director of Acquisition and Operations, and Jared Walega, PM IVAS Test Director, highlighted how problem solving, routine distributed work solutions, modular architecture design, Soldier Centered Design (SCD), and Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) have allowed the project flexibility during the COVID pandemic.

Stephens emphasized how Team IVAS has applied efficient problem-solving skills from the project’s inception.

“Senior defense officials recognized the erosion in close combat capabilities and saw an immediate need to ensure overmatch for our dismounted force,” said Stephens. “Congress recognized the requirement and reprogrammed funds to start IVAS in FY19. Within six months from the Secretary of Defense’s approval in late May, Team IVAS awarded multiple Other Transaction Agreements to industry and kicked off IVAS before Christmas 2018.”

Team IVAS has rapidly solved problems ever since. This includes the successful integration of partners from around the country. Because the team overcame this initial obstacle, remote work is now routine.

The distributed team has built and relied on a digital infrastructure to manage the mission from any physical location. Therefore, they are able to maintain the mission even with the obstacles COVID has presented.

“When COVID hit we had already established a solid Integrated Product Team [IPT] Battle Rhythm using long distance collaboration methods like SharePoint, TEAMs, and Power BI,” Stephens said. “Using TEAMs over the past 18 months allowed video teleconferencing, sharing document collaboration, and reviewing our program management dashboards, so all our leaders were battle tested”.

Secure remote tools have allowed for continued IVAS prototyping through Army Enabled Tests (AET) even while team members are quarantined at home.

“We also implemented a practice of what we call Army Enabled Testing that allows us to get updates from our partners, test the updates in a safe environment, and provide feedback. This methodology helps us manage our performance risks, and not have to wait until Soldier Touchpoint 3 [STP 3] to discover problems,” said Stephens.

Team IVAS’ dynamic problem solving and reliable remote infrastructure guaranteed that aspects of testing continued to ensure minimal overall impacts to the program’s timeline.

“As COVID-19 impacted the organization, the Test Directorate determined we could still conduct a thorough AET with focus on Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA), Tactical Assault Kit (TAK), Synthetic Training Environment (STE), and other necessary capabilities while maintaining requisite social distance and implementing COVID-approved decontamination procedures for the Heads Up Displays (HUD),” said Walega.

“We have a dispersed team that is capable of downloading the latest software build and loading it onto their HUDs. This process has enabled remote testing of software builds and the ability to provide rapid feedback to Microsoft to include live fire video, data, and assessments,” Walega added.

The continued AET testing and iteration of specific IVAS capabilities through the COVID pandemic has been largely based on the Soldier feedback collected at every stage in development over the last 18 months.

“Soldier Centered Design (SCD) was developed in IVAS as a combination of Human Centered Design and tailored acquisition best practices,” said Walega. “SCD focuses on current Soldier and Marine input throughout the entire development process to prevent engineers and developers from building a product that does not meet the priorities of our warfighters.”

The process puts emphasis on making a product that Soldiers will enjoy using to increase their lethality in training and on the battlefield.

According to Walega, “If a Soldier loves and uses IVAS, then we have provided a system that has much greater capability than the current kit.”

In order to ensure that IVAS will truly maximize Soldier lethality, intentional Soldier feedback at every design and decision point has been a program priority.

“We have collected over 23,000 hours of Soldier feedback,” said COL. Christopher Schneider, Program Manager IVAS. “Because we’ve got so much feedback, we’re highly confident in the current design and STP 3.”

The Soldier-centric approach has turned out to be a key asset to the program during the change in normal operations. Though large scale events such as the IVAS STP 3 will shift due to COVID restrictions, the team has reorganized the internal program schedule so that IVAS is not delayed in deploying to the warfighter.

The team is reordering the intensive hardware and software design reviews that were initially planned for after STP 3, and is leveraging their ingenuity, remote tool infrastructure, and plethora of Soldier feedback to expedite the hardware design review to before the October event. This will allow the formal software design sprint to be completed after STP 3, and both designs to be finalized during Capability Set 4 iterations.

“We wouldn’t have the flexibility that we do, frankly, if we hadn’t been doing Soldier Touchpoints, user juries, user studies, and human factors engineering excursions throughout the last 18 months of the program,” said Schneider.

Though the pandemic has impacted every aspect of the program, including supply chain logistics, industry partners have continued to support with solutions.

“With the advent of the Coronavirus, the supply chain risk management strategy has taken on a new level of importance,” said Nicholas Pate, PM IVAS Manufacturing Engineer.

“IVAS vendors have worked tirelessly to assess, analyze, and make quick decisions to avert imminent delays. Luckily, the PM IVAS supply chain strategy, from the very start of the program, has always been to mitigate risk by avoiding sole sources of supply, cultivating multiple sensor vendors, and ensuring parallel paths of supply,” said Pate.

To date, IVAS vendors have been able to react quickly to minimize negative impacts from the Coronavirus.

“Microsoft, as well as the low light and thermal sensor vendors, delivered preliminary supply chain information on critical components for early risk mitigation assessment on the IVAS supply chain,” Pate added. “This information ensures that quality and security controls are implemented to ensure a stable and sustainable supply chain.”

As Team IVAS continues to overcome COVID’s obstacles, leadership is unwavering in its dedication to the safety of both Soldiers and the team.

“We really took a deliberate thought process and approach to moving the Soldier Touchpoint into October,” said Schneider. “We wanted to make sure that we had the opportunity to get it right.”

Overall, every decision has been made with the safety of the team and readiness of Soldiers as top priorities. Though STP 3 is now taking place in October at Fort Pickett, Va., the rest of the program deliverables remain on track.

“I can absolutely say that today we are on track to meet a fourth quarter ‘21 delivery for our first unit equipped,” said Schneider.

Story by Courtney Bacon.

Black Box Sheds Light on Night Vision Challenges for USAF Aircrew Students

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — A device that was developed at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph to help aircrew and paratrooper students understand night vision threats during initial aerospace physiology training will soon become a standard trainer across the Air Force.

A collaborative effort of the 502nd Trainer Development Squadron and Air Education and Training Command Aerospace Physiology Lead Command, the unaided night vision trainer, also known as an NV light bar, demonstrates how dark adaptation and various types of lighting enhance unaided night vision.

The Air Force has been working with a night vision box/light bar for more than 30 years, but these devices were permanently affixed to classrooms and over time have broken or no longer work, said Senior Master Sgt. Ismael Paez Jr., AETC aerospace physiology functional manager.

“The device the 502nd TDS is developing for us is bringing us into the 21st century,” he said. “This device will be mobile, can be controlled via remote and can operate on batteries.”

The aerospace physiology career field has a waiver in place to forgo the requirement to use the night vision device while ensuring training objectives are met, Paez said, but that will change with the new device.

“Once the new night vision light bar is produced, we’ll go from having a handful of legacy devices to more than 40 devices across the Air Force,” he said.

Work on the unaided NV trainer began a few years ago in response to a request from an aerospace physiology technician and aerospace physiology training systems program manager, said Josh Chesney, 502nd TDS program manager.

“The current training is done in a classroom setting with a projector and PowerPoint presentation,” he said. “This device will provide more realistic training.”

The training teaches students about the limitations of the human visual system under low lighting conditions and the illusions they may experience under those conditions.

A rectangular black box that works in tandem with a remote control, the NV light bar demonstrates a variety of anomalies that challenge aircrews.

One of these is autokinesis, a nighttime visual illusion that causes a stationary light to appear to move.

The demonstration of this illusion helps fliers recognize the causes, effects and appropriate prevention of autokinesis during flight, free fall and while under canopy.

The instructor turns on a single red light in the middle of the NV trainer and students stare at a single, fixed light for a minimum of eight to 10 seconds to experience the illusion of an erratically moving light, which is the autokinetic phenomenon.

Next, the instructor turns off the single red light and turns on the outer two red lights of the trainer, and students stare between the two lights for eight to 10 seconds, causing the movement of light to increase. When there are up to four lights with little to no visual references, the illusion increases.

Students learn to avoid autokinesis illusions by concentrating on a single light while maintaining it in their peripheral vision, a technique called nighttime scanning.

Other anomalies the NV trainer addresses are the Purkinje shift, which is the tendency of the eye to shift toward the blue end of the color spectrum at low illumination levels as part of dark adaptation, and flash blindness.

During the flash-blindness demonstration, instructors explain to aircrew and parachutists that their eyes perceive afterimages following glare exposure, which affect their vision for different lengths of time, and tell them how to compensate for these “whiteout” afterimages.

Use of the unaided NV trainer in aerospace physiology classes helps aircrew and parachutists develop their inherent visual abilities to the greatest possible degree, Paez said.

“Although the ability to see at night varies from person to person, experience shows that most people never learn to use their night vision efficiently,” he said. “However, proper training can markedly improve night vision ability. Night vision training improves aircrew attentiveness, scanning techniques and mental interpretation of the images within their eyes.”

The training is intended for aircrews with normal but untrained night vision and is not a method of testing night vision abilities, Paez said.

“A trained person with fair vision may see more at night than an untrained person with superior vision,” he said.

By Robert Goetz, 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Aimpoint Launches New US Website and Websales

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Aimpoint has launched www.aimpoint.us, a US-based website designed to better support US customers. Additionally, they’ve introduced another first, you can order Aimpoint products directly from the website.

The site www.aimpoint.com remains, but is based in Sweden at Aimpoint AB’s international headquarters.

Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II Helps Capture Multiple Wins at K&M PRS Match

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Bushnell Pro Mark Cooper Uses XRS II to Win Tactical Division and Place 2nd Overall

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas – June 2, 2020 – Bushnell congratulates Pro Shooter Mark Cooper for adding a new footnote in the Precision Rifle Series history book by becoming the first person in recent history to win the Tactical Division and place 2nd Overall at a National PRS Match. Using his Elite Tactical XRS II, Cooper was able to take home multiple wins at the recent K&M Precision Rifle Series and AG Cup Qualifier in Finger, Tennessee.

After dropping only 8 points across 12 stages on day one, Cooper entered the final day of the match in 20th place. Despite exceeding his initial expectations, Cooper knew that an even stronger performance would be needed to claim a top spot on the podium. He remained confident that his riflescope and gear could help get the job done.

“It might sound simple, but I went into the last day with one goal in mind – don’t miss,” said Cooper. “Throughout the match my XRS II was performing great, giving me crystal-clear views and helping deliver precise shots across a wide variety of distances. I knew that if I could stay focused that I was in a good position to have a strong finish.”

At the end of Sunday, Cooper had dropped only 4 points, bringing his grand total to 12 for the match. Once the last stage was completed, Cooper’s entire squad erupted with excitement, realizing what they had just witnessed. Cooper had ended the match with two wins, and a mere one point away from 1st Place Overall.

“It’s still hard for me to believe that I was able to have such a strong finish,” said Cooper. “Having had big wins in the past using my Elite Tactical scope, I knew anything was possible. Running the XRS II certainly helps with the added confidence as it has exceptional tracking, great glass, and unbeatable durability. These are core features any shooter needs competing in the PRS.”

After a longer than normal return to competition, Cooper entered the K&M match having recorded his first win of the season at the Accuracy International Long Range Classic back in February. At the A.I. USA Pro Series Match, Cooper took home 1st place in the Tactical Division again using his Bushnell Elite Tactical riflescope.

Next up for Cooper is the Pigg River Precision Regional PRS Match in Rocky Mountain, Virginia on June 5th.

For more information on the Elite Tactical riflescopes go to www.bushnell.com/products/riflescopes/collections/elite-tactical.

Sneak Peek – Raptor Tactical NVG Shroud

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

Raptor Tactical has developed their own NVG Shroud. Coming soon to their updated website.

Colors: Black, FDE, MultiCam.
Material: impact modified, composite nylon 6, with a 30% fiberglass fill
Weight 36 grams or 1.2oz
Four mounting holes
Made in USA
MSRP $59