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Lighter thermal sight to complement combat gear Ratnik

Russia’s holding company Shvabe also created the technology increasing aiming distance
Ratnik combat gear  Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
Ratnik combat gear
© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

ZHUKOVSKY /Moscow Region/, August 30. /TASS/. Russia’s holding company Shvabe has developed a new, lighter version of the thermal night vision weapon sight, which is to complement the soldier’s field combat gear Ratnik, Shvabe’s first deputy CEO for research and development and innovations, Sergei Popov, told TASS in an interview.

Currently Shvabe provides older versions of thermal night and day vision sights for the gear Ratnik and keeps working on their upgrade. As far as thermal vision sights are concerned, it is essential to reduce their mass.

"Before, the sight had seven lenses, which made it rather heavy, 1.5 kilograms. New technological solutions have enabled us to replace seven lenses with two, which cope with the same functions. The sight’s mass has been reduced dramatically. Its new version for the Ratnik gear is about 400 grams," Popov said.

Technology of increasing the aiming range

The holding company Shvabe has also developed a unique technology of cutting the reticle (sighting grid) of optical instruments that dramatically increases the aiming range. 

Before, the sighting grid was created by means of photolithography, a process of transferring geometric shapes on a mask to the surface of a silicon wafer. Sights made this way were enough to achieve desirable fire accuracy at a distance of no more than one kilometer.

"Now the sighting range has increased to two kilometers. At such a distance the size of the target is close to the thickness of crosshairs. And at a certain point the target becomes invisible. We’ve devised a technology of cutting the reticles with a laser beam. Sights manufactured the new way considerably increase the sighting range," Popov said.

Upgraded sight Sodema to be used on T-90 main battle tank

An upgraded sight Sodema, originally created for the weapon systems of the armored personnel carrier BMP-3 and other armored vehicles, will be used on the T-90 main battle tanks, Sergei Popov told TASS in an interview on the sidelines of the aerospace show MAKS-2019.

"We have plans for using this sight [Sodema] for upgrading the T-90 tanks," he said.

Sodema was originally developed for the armored personnel carrier BMP-3, but it will be installed on other light armored vehicles and also used for upgrading foreign vehicles under military-technical cooperation programs, Popov said.

Equipping armored vehicles with the new sights under the upgrade program will take an estimated two to six months.

"Sodema has begun to be produced serially. Reconfiguring it for use on other vehicles will be easy," he added.

The international aerospace show MAKS-2019 is being held in Zhukovsky, near Moscow, on August 27-September 1 as organized by Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Rostec corporation. The show has attracted 827 companies from 33 countries, including 184 foreign firms.

Ratnik combat gear

Currently Russian troops use the combat gear Ratnik of a second generation. In the near future Ratnik will incorporate new elements being created for the next generation gear, Ratnik-3, such as medical sensors, land mine-proof footwear and an electronic visor enabling a soldier to shoot at the enemy from around a corner. Ratnik-3 will provide the same degree of protection but will be four kilograms lighter than its predecessor. Research is underway to complement the combat gear with an exoskeleton and a drone.

Svabe holding

Shvabe is a holding company affiliated with the government-run corporation Rostec. It consists of several dozen organizations, which constitute the backbone of Russia’s optical industry. The holding’s affiliates implement the full cycle of creating the newest optoelectronic and laser technologies for national defense, state and public security and civilian industries.