New thermal imaging means British snipers in Afghanistan can hit targets at long range in complete darkness.
The Sniper Thermal Imaging Capability (STIC) – an urgent operational requirement which is managed by DE&S’ Dismounted Soldier Systems team – enables sniper teams to engage targets in all light where image intensified night sights can’t operate.
Snipers usually work in pairs, with one behind the rifle and another performing a spotting role with a handheld or tripod-mounted scope. STIC accommodates both functions, allowing the pair to share a thermal view of the world.
The system is capable of being attached to a number of different rifles – L96, L115A1, L115A2 and the new L115A3 sniper rifle.
“Following initial trials, the user identified a couple of issues related to human factors and rifle integration,” said Olly Wells, the team’s STIC project manager.
“Thanks to co-operation between sniper instructors, the Infantry Trials and Development Unit, contractor Qioptiq Ltd, and various teams inside DE&S, these issues were all resolved successfully.
“Final trials last year showed the system to be easy and intuitive to operate, and users were hitting man-sized thermal targets at significant ranges in complete darkness.”
Team leader, Colonel Bill Pointing, added:
“STIC is an excellent example of what the Individual Capability Group is doing to get good equipment into the hands of the user quickly. The project team and industry are to be congratulated for their agility and determination.”
Qioptiq managing director David Marks said:
“The STIC project has demonstrated how industry, DE&S and the user community can work closely together to deliver the right solution in a cost effective and timely manner.”