OWNING THE NIGHT – A RESOUNDING SUCCESS
By Julian Nettlefold
11 Nov 09.As night fell on November 10th over the Stickledown Range at the National Shooting Centre, Bisley, a NAMMO flare snaked into the sky to launch the start of the night firing sequence of the owning The Night event. The visitors had assembled on the range guided to the UKTI DSO Safety Briefing by light markers supplied by LGI and Cylume and ear defenders supplied by Nacre with their new QUIETPRO® Intelligent Hearing System. LGI’s Fireworm™ is a self-powered flexible illuminated overt marking system; the light output is blue/green in colour. The NVG Fireworm™ is the covert system; the light output is red. The NVG product has the ability to switch between overt and covert modes. Both products are powered from their own internal batteries; the products can be supplied with 50m, 100m, 300m and 400m of illumination material. Peli Products provided the vital stand-alone lighting system to guide the delegates from the Conference Centre to the Range. The delegates had come from a lively Conference Chaired by Peter Varnish where, after excellent papers delivered by the Army outlining ‘Lessons Learnt’ and ‘Future Requirements.’ A lively Q&A session chaired by Major General Chris Wilson produced some piercing questions from the likes of Raytheon and Northrop which were parried away by the Panel in exemplary form! At the Conference Centre companies such as NightSearcher, Fischer, Elbit, Ultra, NACRE,
The flare dropped in the sky in a moment of quite until the roar of a 7.62 NAMMO IR-friendly round snaked down the range to its high-tech thermal target, supplied MJ Services, fired from a rifle supplied by the Dolphin Gun Company, followed by a burst of NAMMO .556 tracer ammunition. The remarkable ranges of ThermBright Passive Thermal Targets being used at OTN are fulfilling an urgent operational requirement for The British Army and other overseas customers. They have natural thermal contrast properties, completely unpowered, working on the principle of reflected energy from space. Conventional targets are useless against thermal imagers.
Captain Tony Green of UKTI DSO, the range ring master, moved the focus to the Qioptiq firing point where Accuracy International were showing their 7.62 and for the first time on alive range to the public, their .338 rifle firing the Lapua Magnum round. The IR tracer solves the problem with blooming disturbances in the NVD. The latest IR technology adopted to the calibers 12.7mm, 7.62mm and 5.56mm ammunition makes the IR trace totally invisible to the naked eye but can clearly be seen by the warfighter wearing NVD´s. Qioptiq have supplied 20,000 Image Intensified and 4,000 Thermal Weapon sights to UK MoD including the S-Vipir2+ Thermal Sniper Sight attachment for deployment on the Accuracy International .338 AW Sniper Rifle. This combination has greatly increased the 24 hour capability of UK Sniper teams on current combat operations. Many other NATO forces have taken advantage of the proven capability of Qioptiq products and are benefitting from the low power and high reliability that Qioptiq products provide and infantry environments demand, as such, Qioptiq land based sighting systems have seen extensive use on current operations in the most demanding of environments and can truly be called “combat proven” equipment.
The focus of attention moved to the DRS Firing Point where Bryan McLean was demonstrating the DRS TWS sight for the first time live in Europe. The DRS infantry Thermal Weapon Sight (TWS) is a world-beating product and DRS has supplied 20,000 to the U.S. Army and 600 Heavy Weapon TWS to the British Army as well as some to Turkey under FMS. At the height of production requirements we were supplying 2000 TWS per month and 2400 DVE kits. The technology in the TWS and the DVE is identical. The TWS was mounted on a Dolphin Gun Company weapon. Alongside the Firing Point, Chris Corsbie and his DRS team showed off the cap