USMC Looking for New Thermal Weapon Sight

TPIR-45 by Torrey Pines Logic


Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM…gotta love those acronyms) is looking for a thermal weapons sight that can attach via rail system and also transition to a hand held unit. The system if focused on the infantry squad.  There haven’t officially requested proposals but should be officially requesting around the first of the year.  I’ll keep you posted on any new info.

For those of you that don’t know, MARCORSYSCOM provides the USMC with pretty much everything related to vehicles, guns and uniforms.

There are some great things out there with Thermal but in my opinion the true solution is in a fusion of infrared, thermal and electro optical. The best of of capabilities rolled into one weapons sight.

MARSOC with the ACOG by Trijicon

The sight is also supposed to mate-up to the AN/PVQ optic by Trijicon.  I’m personally not a big fan of the Trijicon sight because of the limited sight picture.  I used one in Afghanistan on my M-4 but had trouble with the field of view being too limited when engaging enemy past 200 yards. Ended up dropping a few thousand pound JDAM’s on their heads instead!  I think you either go with a Red Dot sight for close engagements or get a proper scope for (Red Dot attached) targets out at distance.  My main point here is that the small viewing hole of the PVQ will make it hard to pick up your target in order to get a good site picture.  Why not make the Thermal Site complete with a Red Dot?  Although target ID and Rules of Engagement become an issue here…..

It looks like they’ve set aside $80,000,000 for the effort and my guess is that FLIR and Raytheon and maybe Torrey Pines Logic will throw in (they make crazy stuff for SOCOM) will be front runners since they have a long track record in this domain.  Requirements are below, let us know what you think.  -Brandon

  • Provide a Squad Thermal System (STS). The objective of the STS is to provide a Non-Developmental Item (NDI) device
  • The STS shall be both: A weapon-mounted clip-on thermal sight that can be used in conjunction with the AN/PVQ-31A/B Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) and a lightweight, handheld thermal imager

Raytheon’s AN/PAS 13 Thermal Weapon Sight



  • Go Navy!

    Brandon: interesting you brought up Red dot sight. How do you feel about EOTECH? Any issues? I have been using the EOTECH 512 and I love it. No issues, easy to use. Would love to get a magnifier…..but not at $500.

  • I’m a big fan of the EOTECH. I voted for the sight when I sat on the SOCOM SOPMOD2 upgrade panel when it was first introduced in 2002. Great sight but, expensive!

    • Go Navy!

      Thanks Brandon for the reponse and also your articles. Yes, they are expensive but I think it was worth every penny.EOTECH is well built and dependable. (aka not the cheap stuff you see online like NCSTAR or even UTG stuff). I think I paid $349 for my EOTECH 512.

  • JimS

    Combining a red dot and a thermal doesn’t really make any sense to me. A thermal scope already has a dot, and with a thermal you are looking at an LCD screen. You cant actually look through it…or have a big wide open FOV and unlimited eye relief…which is the main benefit of a red dot. Swapping one for the other is the only way I can see to use both.

    • JimS-To clarify: I meant having a Thermal Sight with a Red Dot incorporated on top or on the side. That way you can shoot in the clear and for short range engagements when you come off the thermal sight picture. Hope that clears up my comments, glad you brought it up though. -Brandon

  • Jon

    What about the Enhanced Night Vision Optic the Army fielded?

    I haven’t heard anything about whether it worked well or not, but considering I don’t see much of them in use I’m wondering if they’re just too heavy.

    • Matt

      It can’t attach it to a rifle though, right?

      • Jon

        This is true, but why not adapt the technology to a rifle optic?

  • Could someone explain the difference between infrared and thermal? My understanding was that they were interchangeable terms.

    • Riceball

      No, not really. IR is looking into the infrared spectrum of light and allows you to see almost like you would in visible light but current IR tech does not do full color, just monochrome. A good example of IR is a lot of footage from Desert Storm or any of those ghost hunting shows; that’s IR.

      Thermal is viewing heat signatures, think Predator. You’re not seeing light anymore but just varying degrees of hot and cold.

    • NIRd

      Infrared and thermal are the same – and not, depending on context. There are four basic infrared bands broken up by wavelength (different areas of scinece break it up differently, but this how I see it for the purposes of military applications)
      NIR (Near IR) is 700-1000 nm. NVGs/NODs and CCD’s can see out to just below 1000 nm. This covers your basic laser aiming devices.
      SWIR (Short wave IR) is 1-3 micron (um) . Most military laser rangefinders and laser comms operate here (1.5 um) and there are very few fielded imagers that work in this region (for now).
      MWIR/ LWIR (mid and long wave) covers 3-12 um. Thermal energy is still infrared it is just in these longer wavelegnths. Most “thermal” sights see either 3-5 um (older and long range cooled thermals) or 8-12 um (newer uncooled thermals as are being used as weapons sights).

  • VTGunner

    I use an EOTech on my personal AR and we still have some in my unit, and since I’m the armorer and master gunner in my army unit, I get to pick what I want on my M16 (yes M16 not M4) and I went with the EOTech. Love the thing!

    • Go Navy!

      VT Gunner: What model EOTECH do you use? Also, do you leave your batteries inside the sight all the time? Do you ever take it out? I have nightmares that the batteries will explode and damage my EOTECH. I have the EOTECH 512 (AA Batteries).

      • VTGunner

        On my personal AR I have the 512. Yes I keep the batteries inside at all times. No point in having a rifle if it’s not ready to go at a moments notice. I do replace them about once a month to make sure it’s a fresh set and to make sure that they don’t corrode.

        • Go Navy!

          VTGunner: Thanks for the feedback and the suggestion. I will go and replace the batteries more often. I do leave my batteries in there too and at the ready. The one thing I like about the 512 series is that it takes regular AA batteries not that CR batteries. Yes, my biggest worry is corrosion as well. It would not be good when I reach for my M&P and the sight doesn’t work.

  • Lance

    I don’t know about the writer the ACOG is a great scope and is durable for combat use. TA-31 can be used in all weather and time of day and is accurate for hundreds of yards the EO Tech is only good for about 100yds and its all over the place ive seen them do that.

    • Go Navy!

      Lance: I do agree ACOGs are great scope and they have more range capability than EOTECHs. I think EOTECHs are great for close range (100 yrds or less). I would have gotten an ACOG myself if it doesn’t cost $1,200 (you can almost get 2 ARs for that price). What do you think of Aimpoint (M68)?

    • Brandon

      Lance-using the ACOG on the range at 300 yards is very different from trying to shoot someone while on the move at 300 yards…especially when they’re shooting back! That’s the point I’m making here….I think Trijicon makes solid product by their zoom scopes have too small a field of view in my opinion…based on shooting people with it…..

  • I like the M68 Comp M4 a lot. I used it overseas and it never gave me any issues. I like the ACOG but I agree with the writer that field of vision, and for me eye relief, is an issue with it. I can use M68 accurately out to 300 meters and in an urban area, that is plenty of range.

    • Go Navy!

      Thanks for the feedback on M68 Aimpoint. I am looking for a second sight system (other than my EOTECH). I love the ACOG as well but the cost is so high….but as they say you get what you buy for….

  • Adam

    Its strange that they are now “looking” for one when they currently issue the IWNS-T PAS 27 in country and fulfills those requirements…… I loved the thing, it was light and tough (got run over by a hummvee and still worked)… Unless this if for some type of crew serve weapon with magnification…….

  • bill

    With the cuts coming they may have to wait?

  • bill

    ACOG is great with the RMR piggy backed on top or to the side, you get the best of both worlds.

    • VTGunner

      For me as a shooter I think that would be odd. You would need to bring your cheek off the gun in order to get that high to look through the RMR. That’s my own assumption though. I’m too cheap to afford a $1500 ACOG w/RMR which is why I went with an EOTech. Plus my NG unit is pretty low on the list for any type of new gear, which I’m kinda thankful for otherwise I would’ve had to of given up my EOTech for an Aimpoint since those are the “standard” for line units.

      • Go Navy!

        I agree….I would love to spend the $1500 on a ACOG but I would rather have another firearm(s) instead. Also, I know I am not engaging targets of more than 100 yrds at the home front.

  • Lance

    ACOG with doctor sight fixes the short range problems.

  • VTGunner

    In the off chance that the optic doesn’t work, that’s why we have back-up iron sights (BUIS)

  • Jim37F

    I just got the Elcan Specter sight (SU-230/PVS Articulated Telescope). Its a combined 1-4x mag. Just flip a lever and you can go back and forth between ACOG style zoomed in sight to reflex style close quarters sights. Basically very similar to having an ACOG with a reflex mounted on top, but you don’t have to change your sight picture to use it

  • mike booth

    curious as to your sentence asking for thermal imaging and infrared. these are synonomous terms. discrimination can be wave length within the IR spectrum. did the article intend to request fused E/0 using image intensification and infrared?

  • Go Navy!

    Yep. I got my midwest industries back up iron sights.

  • William Jorgensen

    The IWNS-T is a great scope, I think NIRd said it right, better performing thermal guts with higher resolution. With that said, I just had a demo of the FLIR thermosight T60 ATWS with the Trijicon ACOG. This is a 640×480 resolution clip on sight. The scope is phenomenal , great image quality, super rugged and no internal menues, very simple to use.awesome! I cant wait to see the next level of clip on thermo sights, 1024×768 resolution. Probably will cost around $30,000

    Semper fi

  • Don Harvey

    I worked on the development of the IWNS-T clip-on thermal weapon sight with Insight Technology from inception to the end of the contract. I also was responsible for the IWNS-I2 clip-on sight. The comment that IR and thermal are the both infra-red is correct as is the comment that thermal comprises the IR spectrum of between 8 and 12 microns normally, and IR is for everything from visible light to the RF spectrum. IWNS-T operated between about 9 and 14 microns.

    Clip-on means that when it attached in front of a day-sight such as a ACOG the day sight remains bore-sighted and the IWNS does not cause image shift. The IWNS only provides the light (from the illuminated display) which the operator sees. The cross-hairs remains in the displayed image on target.

    Because of this requirement the magnification (optical) cannot be anything except unity and the eyepiece cannot have diopter adjust. There is digital mag in the IWNS however and that does not contribute to image shift.

    Narrower FOV (field of view) allows higher resolution at distance while maintaining a low F number. The lower the F number means the sight gathers more light for a given size of optic. This is important and a typical trade off in weapon sight development.