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Thermal Imaging Sight (Thermal Imager)

Category: Term of the day

A sight based on the use of infra-red technology to produce a picture of the heat signature of an object against its background. It is a passive system which detects infra-red (IR) radiation emitted by the target and converts this into an electrical signal which can be used to create a visual image.

There are a number of materials which produce an electrical signal when exposed to IR radiation, but the most commonly used is Cadmium Mercury Telluride (CMT). This semiconductor material, with suitable doping, produces usable outputs in both the 3-5 and the 8-13 micron wavebands. With the CMT cooled to about -200 degrees Centigrade, particularly high sensitivity is achieved in the 8-13 micron waveband. Thus, when good picture quality is required, 8-13 microns has proved to be first choice for scanning TI systems, in which the detector is only briefly exposed at each picture point. Detectors operating in the 3-5 micron waveband will produce usable images at about -60 degrees Centigrade. Other materials, such as Indium Antimonide are also used in the 3-5 micron waveband.

Unlike other sights, which requires some ambient visible radiation, the thermal imager will function in complete darkness, enabling the operator to see various objects at distances of up to several kilometers.

The main component of the thermal imager is a thermal camera. The most known producers of thermal cameras are French SAGEM and THALES companies.

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Sagem Defense Securite (SAFRAN Group)

Thales Australia

Thales Training & Simulation

Thales Communications

Thales Defence UK

Thales Nederland

Thales Advanced Engineering


Thales Sensors

Thales Raytheon Systems France

Thales Systems Canada Inc.

Thales Optronics Ltd

Thales AFV Systems Ltd

Thales Optronics (Taunton) Ltd


Thales Training & Simulation (USA)


Records 1 to 8 of 8

15:17 26.07.2006

Are there any other producers of thermal imagers except french companies?

13:14 01.08.2006

There are producers of thermal imagers in Germany and US. Also China.

18:18 01.08.2006

Thermal imager is a very useful syghting system. It enaabled US tankers to see Iraqi T-72s thru smoke of burning oil wells and engage them, while the Iraqi tankers were not able to see the Americans.

10:36 02.08.2006

Thermal imagers require air conditioning system in the vehicle obligatorily. The Indian T-90 tanks are out of order in hot weather of the desert because their thermal imagers fail.

09:32 03.08.2006

The Indians should have foreseen this problems before they aquicre tanks of this design. Haste makes waste.

11:51 04.08.2006

This should have been foreseen by the Russians who developed these tanks.

17:09 07.08.2006

Anyhow, the Indian Armoured Corps is a mile ahead of the Pakistan Tank Force, because the Pakistani tanks are not fitted with thermal imagers at all.

13:48 09.08.2006

That is not exactly true. T-80UDs are not fitted with thermal imaging systems, but Al-Khalid MBTs have thermal imagers installed.

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