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Leonardo DRS to supply US Army snipers with Advanced Infrared Weapon Sights.

| 2023

Leonardo DRS has recently been awarded a new contract by the U.S. Army for the production of their next-generation infrared weapon sights, specifically designed for infantry snipers. The firm-fixed-price contract, valued at over $94 million, spans a period of five years and has been issued by the Army's Contracting Command.
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Leonardo DRS is dedicated to enhancing the fidelity of long-distance visualization capabilities for special forces (Picture source: Leonardo DRS)

The contract entails the development of an advanced system called the Family of Weapon Sights – Sniper, Improved Night/Day Observation Device Block III. This cutting-edge infrared weapon sight is specifically tailored for sniper and reconnaissance operators, offering enhanced target detection and identification capabilities, environmental observation features, and the ability to track bullet trajectory.

Jerry Hathaway, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Leonardo DRS Electro-Optical Infrared Systems business, expressed pride in delivering this state-of-the-art technology to ensure that soldiers have access to the most advanced systems available. He emphasized the company's longstanding history of supplying the Army with advanced electro-optic and infrared technologies, highlighting the significance of this award as a testament to the trust placed in their market-leading Family of Weapon Sights.

At the heart of this technology lies Leonardo DRS's extensive experience in the field of micro-cooled infrared weapon systems, accumulated over several decades. The Family of Weapon Sights - Sniper incorporates a passive, micro-cooled, mid-wave infrared technology that provides users with large-format imagery to maximize mission effectiveness.

Leonardo DRS is actively engaged in multiple weapon-sight programs, furthering their commitment to delivering next-generation capabilities for special forces. One such program is the Mid-Range Dual-Channel Weapons Sight, which offers distinct advantages through the fusion of different views. By incorporating dual bands, the system can detect items that may be typically obscured, such as seeing through glass using a mid-wave SWIR (short wave infrared) system. This capability is essential for troops operating in environments where the ability to see through glass is crucial. Fusion technology plays a pivotal role in this context.

Moreover, the fusion of views enables the visibility of lasers, a critical feature for special forces utilizing lasers on their weapons. The Mid-Range Dual-Channel Weapons Sight not only allows users to see the laser but also fuses the thermal image together with it. This empowers SOF (Special Operations Forces) snipers to mark a target with a laser and share that information with other operators equipped with the same weapon sight, enabling precise coordination and target acquisition.

Additionally, Leonardo DRS is dedicated to enhancing the fidelity of long-distance visualization capabilities for special forces. By maintaining a similar-sized weapon sight while quadrupling the number of pixels within the package, they can significantly improve what SOF snipers can observe at extended ranges. This advancement facilitates early target identification, effectively transforming the weapon sight into a sensor that provides crucial surveillance information, in addition to serving as a targeting tool.

These innovative solutions from Leonardo DRS exemplify their commitment to leveraging deep expertise and a rich legacy in advanced thermal imaging and high-performance SOF systems. With over fifty years of pioneering work in infrared detectors, advanced sensor suites, and robust targeting systems, Leonardo DRS consistently delivers innovative EO/IR (Electro-Optical/Infrared) solutions that provide U.S. and allied special operations forces with a vital advantage.

Defense News June 2023

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