Kent Periscopes – Sighting and Imaging Systems for Modern Armored Fighting Vehicles

Issue 83

Kent Periscopes, a Gooch & Housego company, is a leading international designer, manufacturer and supplier of unity vision periscopes, sensor suites, vehicle sights and defense-related equipment for armoured fighting vehicles such as main battle tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

Continual product development, research, development and investment in innovative technologies ensure they maintain their impressive portfolio and market leading position.

Providing the Best Solution for Each Customer’s Needs

Kent Periscopes works hand in hand with the customer to ensure that the best solution is achieved for each and every scenario, whether that be for unity vision periscopes (UVP) or more complex sighting systems such as the Sabre thermal imaging gunners/commanders sight, or the embedded image periscope (EIP) system.

The company employs contemporary 3D solid modelling techniques and benefits from an in-house Finite Element Analysis (FEA) capability which is utilized on all of its designs. Rapid prototype 3D printing allows conceptual designs to be quickly manufactured and trialled, de-risking the design process.

Kent Periscopes possesses a state of the art testing facility providing the ability to perform thermal, and shock and vibration testing. New designs are proven during the design verification and validation stages, while all products undergo ESS testing before they leave the facility. This world class capability has been successfully employed on the design, development, manufacture and verification of its latest EIP system, recently delivered to a major European customer.

Kent Periscopes’ EIP System equips AFV drivers with flexible, high-performance, enhanced day or night driving capability. The EIP is a self-contained unit that delivers the unique ability for the user to view the outside world through a standard unity vision ‘hard glass’ periscope, and through a flexible sensor suite relayed to an embedded LCD (unlike competing systems requiring a separate display and associated electrical harness).

The EIP designed for Kent’s European customer includes a sensor suite that consists of a daylight CCD, low light camera and a thermal camera (LWIR), and to further enhance the performance, the system also has the ability to overlay the image from the thermal sensor on to the daylight CCD or low light camera image. The system can also record footage, providing additional value as an effective training aid.

The capability to overlay the thermal image on to the day or low light image gives increased situational awareness to the vehicle driver. The driver will be able to see obstructions and road signs which are not visible when using the thermal channel only and allows the driver the ability to drive in weather conditions that are not possible with solely thermal solutions.

Kent Periscopes supplied a second, linked EIP giving the commander the ability to see the driver’s view or an independent view from a different sensor enhancing force flexibility and effectiveness. 

All sensors are controlled via a simple and compact control unit to select sensors, adjust gain, brightness and change polarity etc.

Clear and excellent vision, even in the coldest of environments, is maintained by means of heated internal and external windows and a built-in ruggedized wash wipe system.

The company ensures that it invests in obsolescence management, future proofing our customer’s investments. They work with carefully chosen technology partners to assist in the R&D of its sighting systems.

Continuous Development – Pushing the Boundaries

Innovative EIP developments continue: Kent Periscopes has recently designed and integrated a SWIR (short wave infrared) sensor suite providing unparalleled night, smoke and haze vision enabling operations in previously inaccessible environments. This unique capability was recently successfully demonstrated at Eurosatory, Paris and is generating significant customer interest.

Kent’s new product development is not just limited to the high-end sighting systems in its product portfolio. The company continually designs custom unity vision periscopes for turret and vehicle applications and is due to release a new range of periscopes later this year.

Sighting Systems

In conjunction with the ongoing development of the EIP System, Kent adopts the same proven technology and modular approach into its sighting systems.

The Sabre gunners/commander’s family of sights has undergone a technology enhancement with the introduction of the TI Sabre which benefits from the same thermal sensor as fitted in the latest EIP sensor suite. The Sabre sight developments include an integrated laser range finder as an optional extra, delivering exceptional capability.

Passive Periscopes 

The much-used passive driver’s periscope (PDP) is also undergoing a transformation, updating the obsolete image intensified tubes (IIT). PDPs are a simple solution and the driver’s ‘swap-out’ sight of choice in the UK but have been problematic due to IIT obsolescence. Kent Periscopes have redesigned the in-service PDP proving a cost effective alternative to unit replacement. Units can now be returned to Kent and be subject to a mid-life improvement that will ensure the product remains current for many years to come.

A capability enhancement to the PDP includes the addition of a thermal channel alongside the IIT which gives the driver the ability to switch between either an image intensified view or a thermal view.

Best in Class

Kent Periscopes continues to support both current and new customers with value for money opto-mechanical systems with the aim of enhancing capability and supportability for years to come. The portfolio of products continues to grow and the company, as with the wider G&H A&D business, has a clear objective of offering ‘best in class’ optical engineering to its customers.

G&H Aerospace & Defense Photonics 

Kent Periscopes is part of G&H Aerospace & Defense Photonics, one of three business units in the Gooch & Housego Group. The G&H A&D Photonics business provides optical system design, engineering, manufacturing solutions to the aerospace & defense sectors, including space. 

Rugged Solutions for Demanding Applications in Tough Environments

Communications: Tactical communications require rugged, HI REL components and subsystems. We support a number of C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) applications.

Countermeasures (ground-based and airborne): These systems require accurate modulation of the infrared energy. We provide fiber optic, acousto-optic, and nonlinear crystal products.

Directed energy weapons (DEW): G&H supplies highly specialized precision optics for DEW systems including complex mirrors. These are designed, engineered, machined, polished and coated in-house. 

Head-up and helmet mounted displays: G&H’s expertise in designing and developing components for imaging, as well as its capability to miniaturize subsystems, is well-leveraged in this arena.

Imaging across the infrared range: SWIR, MWIR and FIR. Enhanced imaging systems address a wide variety of adverse environmental conditions such as low light, fog and haze, smoke and sand storms in platforms including airborne, land and maritime installations. Lenses from StingRay Optics, a G&H company, include OEM integratable and stand-alone products, including motorized zoom. 

G&H also works with major European defense contractors, supplying world class infrared, aspheric optical components.

Rangefinding and target designation for land and airborne systems: Precision ordinance of all varieties rely on photonic targeting and rangefinding systems to ensure precise deployment. G&H supplies precision optical components, and micro-optical packaging of these as appropriate.

About G&H

G&H works with customers to supply the most appropriate technological solution. Products are commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), pre-engineered, build-to-print, or fully customized.

The G&H Group’s continued focus on quality management systems (QMS) across all manufacturing sites, provides consistency, reliability, traceability, reduced risk, and reduction of waste and downstream costs, sustainability. Our quality management is constantly evolving, with four standards (ISO 9001, AS9100, OHSAS 45001 and ISO 14001) forming the basis of our current accreditation.

For further information on G&H, the A&D Photonics Business and companies in the Group please visit goochandhousego.com, kentperiscopes.co.uk, or stingrayoptics.com.

Alternatively, email Southern Europe Sales Director Sébastien Lenoir slenoir@goochandhousego.com.