Tag Archives: Night

F-35C Completes First Night Flight Aboard Aircraft Carrier

By on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

The F-35C Lightning II carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter conducted its first carrier-based night flight operations aboard an aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego Nov. 13.

Navy test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Ted “Dutch” Dyckman piloted F-35C test aircraft CF-03 for the inaugural night flight, taking off from USS Nimitz (CVN 68). At 6:01 p.m. Dyckman conducted a series of planned touch and goes before making an arrested landing at 6:40 pm.

The night flight was part of Development Testing I (DT-I) for the F-35C, which commenced Nov. 3 and is expected to last two weeks. The Nimitz is hosting the F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 during the initial sea trials of the F-35C.

During DT-I, the test team has conducted a series of events designed to gradually expand the aircraft-operating envelope at sea, including crosswind and low-energy, high-wind catapult launches and approaches to test the aircraft’s ability to perform in both nominal and off-nominal conditions.

Through Nov. 13, two test F-35C aircraft have completed 28 flights for a combined 34.5 flight hours and accomplished more than 75 percent of threshold test requirements. The aircraft also performed 108 catapult launches, 215 planned touch-and-go landings, two long touch and go landings, 110 arrested landings and zero bolters.

Testing thus far has demonstrated the aircraft’s exceptional handling qualities throughout all tested launch and recovery conditions. F-35C maintenance and operations have integrated well with standard Navy carrier procedures onboard Nimitz. The F-35C has proven its ability to operate in the carrier environment and has consistently caught the optimal three-wire during arrested landings. The test team successfully landed during every attempt, with zero hook-down bolters, or failures to catch an arresting cable on the flight deck.

The goal of DT-I, the first of three at-sea test phases planned for the F-35C, is to collect environmental data through added instrumentation to measure the F-35C’s integration to flight deck operations and to further define the F-35C’s operating parameters aboard the aircraft carrier. A thorough assessment of how well the F-35C operated in the shipboard environment will advise the Navy of any adjustments necessary to ensure that the fifth-generation fighter is fully capable and ready to deploy to the fleet in 2018.

The successful night flight of the F-35C represents a step forward in the development of the Navy’s next generation fighter.

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Mi-28N Night Hunter Helicopter Enters Russian Service

The Mi-28N Night Hunter combat helicopter, made by Russian Helicopters a subsidiary of Oboronprom and part of State Corporation Rostec, has officially entered into service with the Russian Defence Ministry under an order signed by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. Before officially entering into service, the Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopter was operated by the Russian Armed Forces for several years.

The Ministry of Defence tested it in various conditions and developed a dedicated training and support base. This work was carried out jointly with specialists from the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, which developed the Mi-28N Night Hunter, and the Rosvertol aviation plant, which has series produced the helicopter since 2005. Russian Helicopters has, to date, delivered several dozen Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters to the Russian Defence Ministry.

“The fact that the Defence Ministry has officially accepted the Mi-28N testifies to the fact that the Night Hunter meets the requirements for a combat helicopter, has passed all the necessary tests, and is ready to enter into service with the Russian Air Force,” Alexander Mikheev, CEO at Russian Helicopters, said. “Russian Helicopters companies are not only successfully fulfilling the state defence order, they are continuously striving to improve and modernize combat helicopters, and thereby to strengthen our country’s defences.”

The Mi-28N Night Hunter meets all current combat helicopter requirements, and has roused interest among potential customers. The export model is known as the Mi-28NE Night Hunter.

Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters boast superior flight capabilities, allowing it to perform aerobatic manoeuvres. The legendary Golden Eagles (Berkuty) helicopter aerobatics team have flown Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters since 2012.

Russian Helicopters is constantly working to further hone and improve the flight capabilities of the Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopter. A special Mi-28N with dual controls was created for pilot training, which completed its first flight on 9 August 2013.

Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant is a Russian Helicopters company. The plant focuses on researching, designing, constructing and testing prototype helicopters. Since its establishment the plant has created 12 basic helicopter models including the Mi-8/17, Mi-35M, Mi-26, Mi-28, Mi-38 and numerous modifications.

Russian Helicopters, JSC is a subsidiary of UIC Oboronprom, which in turn is a part of State Corporation Rostec. It is one of the global leaders in helicopter production and the only helicopter design and production powerhouse in Russia. Russian Helicopters is headquartered in Moscow. Russian Helicopters was established in 2007. In 2012 its IFRS revenues increased 21% to RUB 125.7 billion. Deliveries reached 290 helicopters.

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Typhoon Test Pilots Begin Night Vision Goggles Trials

By on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Adding to the very latest technologies that the Helmet Mounted Symbology System offers along with the night compatible cockpit, the FENN NG2000Ti goggles will provide pilots with x-ray like vision right through the night.

Night Vision Goggle trials are ongoing and demonstrate the continued efforts to integrate the latest technologies into the Typhoon system.

Nat Makepeace, Typhoon project pilot tells us about his experience from the recent night trials.

Light is required
The first thing to say about Night Vision Goggles is that they do not work in total darkness. They need some light to work, but in practice even on the darkest night in the remotest part of the world, there is normally enough light to make them work. It should also be noted that the amount of light is proportional to the performance, i.e. the picture quality, so on a moonlit night the quality of the image is amazing, but on a dark night it is grainy and hard to see any fine detail. This, amongst other reasons, is why it often takes a lot of time to test military equipment. It has to cover such a wide spectrum of use and it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses before operational use.

Formation flying
So with this in mind we had to look at how they would perform in service use. As well as the tactical stuff I looked at formation flying. It’s quite odd being sat a few feet away from an aircraft that can’t see you, I was happy but the other pilot must have been thinking he was insane. We did some formation manoeuvring as well as a formation approach.

Stars in Typhoon pilots eyes
Once that was complete I had to do a climb to over 50,000 feet to make sure that the breathing system was unaffected by the changes to the helmet. At that point, even though the sun had set about two hours before, there was a beautiful glow at this height to the west with some amazing blue and purple hues. It was a very clear night and the Milky Way was easily visible, but through Night Vision Goggles it was incredible, just millions of more stars became visible, a truly amazing sight to see. It was a bonus to an otherwise routine test flight. It really did make the universe look “out of this world.”

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1,600 Indian T-72s Slated for Night Vision Upgrades

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The Indian Army, having long suffered from deficiencies in night fighting capability, is taking steps to correct this gap in equipping combat vehicles with advanced EO systems. Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, was  quoted by Frontier India saying: “Indian Army’s tanks have a night vision capability of 20 percent while Pakistani’s have 80 percent and China has 100 percent”. Following massive procurement of night vision devices for combat troops, the army is now set to equip its second line tanks with similar capabilities. The armed forces will review their doctrine, capabilities and shortcomings and also identify latest trends and technologies at a two-day seminar “Night Vision India 2013” scheduled next week.


The Army’s objective is to equip over 1,600 T-72 tanks that form the backbone of the country’s armored forces, with advanced night fighting capabilities. The Army’s case for acquiring 700 TISAS (thermal imaging stand alone systems) and 418 TIFACS (thermal fire control systems) for its T-72 fleet at a cost of around $230 million is in various stages of the procurement process. 300 Israeli TISAS were installed as part of several T-72 upgrade phases, followed by 3,860 image intensifier-based night-vision devices. A huge requirement persists. 310 Russian produced T-90S Main Battle Tanks were also fitted with French Catherine TI cameras.

As a Hand Held Thermal Imager (HHTI) Thales Sophie UF2 is a light weight, fully integrated multi function system allowing the user to detect, recognise, identify and locate targets in day or night. Photo: Thales

As a Hand Held Thermal Imager (HHTI) Thales Sophie UF2 is a light weight, fully integrated multi function system allowing the user to detect, recognise, identify and locate targets in day or night. Photo: Thales

The requirements for the Indian infantry formations are equally stunning. According to Major General RK Arora, editor of Indian Military Review magazine, the Army requires hand held thermal imaging (HHTI) sights integrated with laser range finders, for infantry, armored, air-defense, artillery and engineer regiments. The infantry is also looking for TI sights for medium machine guns and sniper rifles. RFIs for night sights for AK-47 assault rifles and other small arms have also been floated. On the horizon is the Indian Soldier System (INSAS) program,

Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is the biggest supplier of night vision equipment to the armed forces. In 2007 the company has signed a memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Elbit Systems Electro Optics ELOP Ltd, for the local production and support of thermal imaging systems. BEL recently supplied 30,600 passive night sights for rifles, rocket launchers and light machine guns, passive night vision binoculars and passive night vision goggles to the Army but the forces remain woefully short and are looking for the latest 3rd generation technology to reduce weight and extend the life of NVDs.

li-Or M4 from Noga Lite is one of the I2 sights used by the Indian ArmyAnother Israeli company to benefit from the Indian demand is SDS; the company received significant orders for its new lines of I2 weapon sights.

For the future, the procurement of new assault rifles and carbines for the Indian Army, replacing the INSAS currently used, will obviously require hundreds of thousands of sights, night vision sights and clip-on viewers, creating a signifiant drive for foreign companies to establish production in the country. The new rifles will also become part of the future infantry weapon system to be fielded by the Indian military and special forces.

The Indian military is also embarking on the replacement on the Indian 7.62mm Self Loading Rifle (INSAS), with a modern carbine currently in final evaluation. Through the initial screening process the military has narrowed five suppliers from 40 that approached the Request for Information (RFI) in 2010. Currently in the final phase are the US company Colt, Italian Beretta, Czech weapon manufacturer CZ, Israel’s IWI and Austrian SIG Sauer. The Indian military plans to buy at least 65,000 weapons directly from the winning manufacturer and follow on with local production of about 115,000 additional rifles to be produced by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). Eventually, additional procurement of 120,000  units could be added, with the planned procurement of Close Quarter (CQB) Carbines for military and paramilitary use. The total budget to be allocated for the program is nearly US$1.9 billion, spanned over several years. The new rifle will weigh 3.5 kg, and use two calibers, 5.56×45 and 7.62×39 cal and will come with a range of accessories, including under barrel grenade launchers, night vision scopes, optical or reflex sights and more.

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Nightlighter to Spot IEDs at Night

Scene is the Assembly Area at Olympus test site, Cactus Flats, China Lake, Calif., Sept. 2011. Images provided by the Nightlighter in the recent test show differences between day and night imagery. Night imagery contains no shadows, and NIR has different reflectivity than the Visible. The dark tire marks in the night imagery (curved shape at the top-center) is moist soil, which strongly absorbs the laser energy at 880 nm. Photo: GA-ASI

A prototype system designed to detect improvised explosive devices (IED) in day and night, from high altitude was successfully flight tested by General Atomics General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.,. In addition to its primary IED detection capability, the system also provides wide-area 3D relief terrain mapping supporting intelligence gathering and mission planning.

Nightlighter delivers around-the-clock, ultra high-resolution imagery and is derived from GA-ASI’s proven daylight-only, Highlighter electro-optic sensor system. Developed in 2005, Highlighter recently completed a very successful six-year deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Highlighter is a specialized 1600 pound (724 kg) ultra-high resolution payload flown on special mission aircraft collecting color and monochrome imagery of wide areas. The system is supported with on-board automated image processing to enable rapid airborne image acquisition , analysis and dissemination, in spotting and identifying hard to detect targets such as IEDs planted on roadsides or under the surface.

GA-ASI plans to conduct a series of additional flight tests under both daylight and nighttime conditions to validate the effectiveness of the Nightlighter platform further. In the recent test the system was demonstrated on a Twin Otter aircraft, during the Olympus Flight Test sponsored by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) at China Lake, Calif. GA-ASI is currently developing a program to deploy the system on King Air 350 aircraft.

Under development since 2010, Nightlighter is a high-altitude airborne imaging system designed to detect Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other implanted devices along roads and other routes of travel. The system uses both standard cameras for operation in daylight and advanced night imaging technology to collect imagery under darkness.

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