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A special forces soldier looking through XTRAIM

Thales’s revolutionary XTRAIM weapon sight gives Special Forces and dismounted soldiers the flexibility and enhanced survivability they need to complete complex missions in challenging, fast-changing environments, thanks to a unique patented architecture and an array of features tailored to users’ essential needs.

A group of insurgents is hiding out in a large shuttered farmhouse, 300 metres ahead. The three-person team tasked with neutralising the insurgents and safely extracting any hostages sweeps the building using the direct-view optical (DVO) day channel on their XTRAIM weapon-mounted sights. The brightness of the digital reticle in the red-dot sight remains constant despite the sunlight, enabling the team to engage targets at this range with precision if necessary (a 3x magnifier is also available if needed). But nothing moves outside the farmhouse.

All of the team members are carrying the XTRAIM sight on their weapons. The flexible all-in-one device lets users activate the uncooled infrared (IR) sensor at the touch of a button, allowing them to switch from day mode to night mode in an instant, and helping them to stay protected during the transition from bright sunlight to dark interiors.

What makes the XTRAIM sight revolutionary is its all-in-one architecture, designed solely with users’ essential needs in mind. It features a conventional red-dot sight teamed with a thermal sight, plus a very large eyepiece, to allow soldiers to shoot with both eyes open, day and night, thereby enhancing situational awareness. Targets moving under cover of foliage can be decamouflaged during daytime (in outline or full IR mode) using the sight’s DVO/IR fusion capability.

Thanks to the product’s light weight and small form factor, the weapon’s centre of gravity is towards the rear (compared with a conventional red dot sight plus IR clip-on configuration, which places more weight towards the front), thereby supporting agile, rapid-response, precision firing.

Digital reticle technology

Talking of precision, the XTRAIM sight’s digital reticle is another key differentiator. It can be electronically configured in various formats (cross hairs, circle, dot, etc.), adapted to any type of weapon or munition, and quickly switched between different ranges, all without the need for mechanical adjustments to the sight. All of these settings can be saved, allowing users to adjust the XTRAIM sight to different weapons in advance, depending on their mission profile, thereby saving time and improving survivability in the field.

VA crucial tactical advantage

The team moves silently up to the building. The leader motions one soldier to cover the door while another enters the darkened building interior, lowering his night vision goggles and pressing the button to activate his thermal sight as he moves. The other two team members follow suit. This exterior-to-interior transition is often the most dangerous phase of this type of mission.

Looking through his Night Vision Goggle (NVG) as well as the XTRAIM sight, the lead soldier immediately detects a figure at the top of the stairs, and is able to identify the individual as a threat and neutralise them with speed and precision. The image intensification/infrared (I2/IR) fusion capability provided by the combined use of the two devices gives users a crucial tactical edge by allowing them to engage targets straight away, before they are spotted themselves, thereby delivering a significant boost in survivability and mission effectiveness. The Xtraim sight can be used with any type of night vision goggle, such as Thales’s Nellie NVG.

Smoke is no barrier

As the team moves from room to room to clear the building of insurgents and search for hostages, they are able to decamouflage and engage targets even through smoke thanks to the combined use of their NVGs and the XTRAIM sight.

The building is quickly cleared. No hostages are present, but the chances of a safe extraction would certainly have been enhanced by the speed and precision with which the team were able to move through the farmhouse.

The team steps back out into the bright sunlight, raising their night vision goggles and switching their XTRAIM sights back to day mode. They are well aware that the new all-in-one sight has played a key role in keeping them safe and ensuring the success of their mission by giving them the essential functionalities they needed, when they needed them.

Design expertise and user input deliver all-round performance

Thales brought its comprehensive optronics expertise to bear on the design of the XTRAIM sight, working with potential users throughout the product development process to ensure that their needs and concerns were taken into account, and even building scalability into the electronic and IT design (but not the mechanical design, which will remain unchanged in future versions) to allow smart features and connectivity to be incorporated at a later date.

The revolutionary new capabilities offered in a single compact package by the XTRAIM all-in-one day/night weapon sight – in particular the ability to switch from day to night mode at the push of button while moving in to search a dark cellar or building interior – deliver genuinely transformational flexibility for Special Forces teams as well as dismounted soldiers in the field, boosting their survivability and mission effectiveness, and helping to save the lives of soldiers and non-combatants.

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