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Optronics cameras and night vision goggles to improve the security and offensive capacity of dismounted soldiers of the Spanish Army

On 6 January, during the celebration of Military Easter, the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, assured that the modernisation of the Armed Forces "is a priority" for the Ministry of Defence. Recent investments (some 7 billion euros last year) in new programmes bear witness to this. A good example of this interest in modernising the army is the Foot Combatant System Programme (SISCAP) of the Directorate General of Armaments and Material (DGAM).

This is a modular and adaptable system in which the components are adjusted to different types of scenarios and missions. The Ministry of the Defence’s document Force 35 states that it "arises from the need to provide the combatant with equipment that allows him to increase his combat capabilities, his integration into the unit, and to interoperate in joint and combined structures, in an increasingly technological environment. It will enable the warfighter to improve his fire effectiveness, situational awareness, command and control, survivability and mobility capabilities”. To this end, it has several sub-systems, one of which is the fire effectiveness sub-system, which aims to help the soldier increase his offensive capability.

This is precisely the subsystem in which Thales is actively involved with the delivery of fusion night vision goggles. In other words, optronic solutions that give soldiers a competitive advantage in the area of operations. With more than 100,000 devices in operation worldwide and nearly 80 years of experience in high-precision optics, Thales is the leading manufacturer of such devices for both pilots and dismounted soldiers (SISCAP) throughout Europe.

As part of the SISCAP programme, Thales has just signed a contract for the supply of eight Minie-D/IR goggles, in addition to the six already delivered for installation on 8x8 Dragon vehicles of the Spanish Army. This is a unique product because of its ability to merge light intensified image and infrared imaging, which is a breakthrough for night operations of dismounted soldiers, allowing the decamouflaging of potential threats while preserving mobility. Another of the most notable features of this product is its light weight (less than 500g) combined with a 51° field of view (I² mode), which is essential for soldiers in the area of operations, as the weight significantly limits their mobility.

This is not the first time that the Spanish Army or the Guardia Civil have purchased equipment of these characteristics from Thales. The Sophie family of portable thermal imagers is a good example. These devicesprovide Target Locator function, with cooled IR channel, day capability and a Laser Range Finder . In its various versions, Sophie allows detection of a human body heat at a distance of more than 7 km as well as detection of enemies, even if they are camouflaged.