The U.S. Army is ordering 21,877 Thermal Weapon Sights at an investment of about $195 million. AN/PAS-13 According to the U.S. Army Program Executive Office PEO Soldier, Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS) gives Soldiers with individual and crew served weapons the capability to see deep into the battlefield, increase surveillance and target acquisition range, and penetrate obscurants, day or night.

A view through the thermal sight shows targets even under total darkness. Photo: U.S. Army, PEO Soldier

The TWS systems use uncooled, forward-looking infrared technology and provide a standard video output for training, image transfer, or remote viewing. Thermal Weapon Sights are lightweight systems that are mountable onto a weapon rail and operate to the maximum effective range of the weapon.
 TWS are providing soldiers in Afghanistan better capability to see and aim at night, or in dark indoors and underground space where Image Intensifier sights do not perform well.

The Army is fielding three different types of TWS Sights. The heavier one, fitted with x10 magnification is issued to leaders, snipers and operators of heavy support weapons. Photo: U.S. Army, PEO Soldier

PEO Soldier is fielding three types of TWS – the An/PAS-13(V)1 Light weapon thermal Sight (LwtS) weighing only 1.95 pounds (0.88 kg) is issued to infantry soldiers using M16/M4 type assault rifles and carbines as well as for the M-136 Javelin guided missile0 system. The (V)2 Medium weapon thermal Sight (MwtS) weighs 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg) and offers magnification of x5, is used with M249 and M240 series medium machine guns, and the 3.9 pounds (1.76 kg) An/PAS-13(V)3 heavy weapon thermal Sight (hwtS) issused for squad leaders using M16 and M4 weapons, snipers using M24 and M107 sniper rifles, and heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers (M2 HB and MK19). This type has a magnification of x10.

Three TWS manufacturers have recently won orders for this equipment, Raytheon, DRS an BAE Systems have won new orders for Thermal Weapons Sights, under ongoing indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quality contract (IDIQ) contracts with the U.S. Army. Raytheon and DRS have each received orders worth $68 million while BAE Systems received an order worth $58 million. The unit costs represented by the different orders may reflect different types of thermal sights, as the DRS and BAE systems won the orders at unit price of 9922.- and 9670.- respectively while Raytheon is selling its product at a cost of $7630.- All deliveries will be completed by mid-year 2012.

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