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



18 Comments on "USMC Looking for New Thermal Weapon Sight"

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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…….

  10. With the cuts coming they may have to wait?

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

  12. ACOG with doctor sight fixes the short range problems.

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

  14. 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

  15. 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?

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

  17. William Jorgensen | November 25, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply

    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

  18. 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.

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