The MoD has placed an order with Thales UK for £150million worth of hi-tech weapon sights and optics which it believes will "improve soldier lethality".
Falling within the Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) programme, the new gadgetry availble to British troops will include:
- new sights (fire-control systems) for underslung 40mm grenade launchers - a laser rangefinder which will work out the correct elevation angle automatically;
- thermal night-vision sights for rifles, marksman's weapons and light machineguns;
- lightweight Day Sights for the SA80 providing improved field of view and a clearer picture;
- new thermal scopes with open Close Quarter Battle Sights mounted on top of them;
- new "Target Locating System" binoculars containing laser rangefinders and digital compasses, allowing commanders to mark things they see accurately on a map; and
- ruggedised digital cameras and simple periscopes for peering over walls and round corners.
Deliveries of the new kit will begin at the end of 2010 and the first equipment will be given to troops for training, prior to being deployed to Afghanistan, in early 2011.
MoD: New targeting technology for troops in Afghanistan