Thales offers a complete range of night vision goggles, combining the world-renowned optical pedigree of Angénieux, a Thales Group brand, with specialist expertise in opto-mechanical design to enhance the perception of infantry soldiers, even on the darkest nights, and augment the capabilities of forces deployed in any theatre of operations.
With more than 85 years of experience in high-end optics and more than 110,000 night vison goggles in service worldwide, Thales has built on feedback from successive generations of operational users to enhance the perception of soldiers on night-time missions.
In the last 20 years, infantry troops deployed in every type of conventional and asymmetric conflict have also come to depend on their night vision goggles to stay ahead of the action and keep themselves safe. But most night vision goggles on the market today quickly become uncomfortable to use, causing eye and neck strain that add to the considerable stress and fatigue of a night mission in hostile territory.
Over the years, Thales has worked with successive generations of operational users and harnessed the latest advances in light intensification technology to bring featherweight, ultra-compact goggles within reach of each and every infantry soldier who needs to operate at night.
Saint-Héand, the Thales's centre of excellence for dismounted soldier optronics
Night vision technology
Night vision goggles typically use an image intensifier to amplify natural ambient light from the moon and the stars to create an image that can be seen with the human eye or detected by digital image sensors. A built-in infrared illuminator enables users to operate effectively on cloudy nights or in the total darkness of a basement or blacked-out building.
There is a night vision device for almost every role and mission, each corresponding to a different set of operational scenarios. Some users need the best range and resolution, while others require outstanding imaging performance with virtually no ambient light. Certain missions call for ultra-compact devices that perform well in a variety of unpredictable situations.
Back in 1996, Thales revolutionised the market for night vision goggles with Lucie, one of the first products to combine a low-profile design for added comfort with an enlarged field-of-view for better situational awareness.
A few years later came Minie, the first connected night vision device with an integrated video display and the ability to communicate with C4I systems and other soldier equipment. The Minie-D/IR variant combines image intensification with infrared imaging technology, offering unique image fusion capabilities for better threat detection, while assuring total discretion because no visible light is needed.
More recently, Thales has developed a succession of new products including Bonie HP, a wide-aperture device for special forces operating on the darkest nights, and Minie, a compact new night vision device to replace the French Army's legacy fleet of Lucie goggles.
Minie weighs less than 350 g and features a patented low-profile design that shortens the distance between the eyes and the centre of gravity of the equipment to minimise neck strain and improve wearing comfort for prolonged use. The latest addition to the family is Nellie. Launched in 2020, this new product packs in all the latest optical and light intensification technology to provide high-resolution stereoscopic vision with an extra-wide (47°) field of view in an ultra-lightweight (<460 g) binocular that's comfortable to wear and easy to use.
In addition to outstanding optical performance, it features a handy push-and-turn control button on both sides of the unit, so users can adjust the goggles with either hand. A new lateral flip-up feature also makes it easier to push one side of the goggle out of the line of sight to gain perspective and improve all-round vision and situational awareness.
Our solutions deliver perception rather than vision. They go beyond high-quality imagery, creating value from raw data to provide vital decision support at every critical moment. As the age of collaborative combat dawns, Thales's connected optronics solutions are set to play a decisive role in gaining and maintaining tactical superiority on tomorrow's battlefields.
Built around the concept of the Augmented Soldier, they draw on advanced digital technologies to empower modern warfighters in the most complex conflict situations while keeping humans at the centre of the decision-making process.