Night Optics

Weapons-mounted night optics are less versatile than goggles with regard to situational awareness. However, they offer greater magnification and resolution at crew-served weapons ranges.

The graduated reticles on night optics offer the flexibility of engaging at various ranges. Laser pointers fix on one range, so the firer must "aim off before engaging targets at a different range.

Night optics weigh more than goggles--they are awkward to move with and employ. Using night optics requires that the firer make specific adjustments to firing positions. Also, night optics might work poorly in some ambient light or thermal conditions.

Despite their drawbacks, properly bore sighted night optics used in the right conditions offer units an extraordinary option: to engage targets beyond the range of opposing force weapons at night.


The AN/PAS-13 (V3) heavy weapon thermal sight (HWTS) (Figure G-1, page G-2) is a silent, lightweight, compact, durable, battery-powered, infrared imaging sensor that consumes little battery power. The self-contained infrared (IR) imaging sensor in this sight helps the firer acquire the target in low visibility conditions.


The HWTS works well at night and in the daytime. The telescope's IR sensor receives infrared light, converts it to digital data, processes it, and then displays it digitally as an infrared image for the user.

a. Components. The HWTS has two functional groups: the basic sensor and the telescope. See Figure G-1, page G-2, for equipment data.

(1) Basic Sensor. The scanner reflects the IR light it receives from the telescope onto the detective (sensor) assembly. The assembly senses IR light, converts it into a video image, then conditions the video for display on the LED array. The LED array illuminates both the IR image and the reticle. This light image reflects off the scanner, which forms the actual image the firer sees in the eyepiece.

(2) Telescope. The telescope receives IR light from an intended target and its surroundings, and then magnifies and projects this light onto the scanner on the basic sensor.

b. Compatibility. The heavy weapon thermal sight fits the weapons shown in Figure G-2:

• MK 19 grenade machine gun.

c. Operational Modes. To place the HWTS in operational mode--

(1) If you have an AN/PAS-13 (V3), see TM 11-5855-302-12&P.

(2) If you have an AN/PAS-13 (OMNI), see TM 11-5855-312-10.

Hwts Sight

Figure G-1. Heavy weapon thermal sight.

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Figure G-2. Weapons that use the AN/PAS-13 (V3) HWTS.


The fundamentals of marksmanship remain about the same for the AN/PAS-13 (V3) heavy weapon thermal sight (HWTS) as they do for the

AN/PVS-4. (TM 11-5855-302-12&P discusses HWTS reticle selection and point of aim.)

a. Firing Position.

(1) Sitting. When using the tripod in the low or high position, sit directly behind the gun between the trail legs of the tripod. Extend your legs under the tripod, cross them, or brace your feet on the tripod. Regardless of which you choose, place your elbows on the inside of your thighs for support. Place your right eye in the HWTS eyepiece.

(2) Standing. With the M2 mounted on a vehicle, stand with both hands on the control grips and your thumbs resting on the trigger. Keep your elbows against your body, your body forward, and your chest against your hands to brace the gun. Place your right eye in the HWTS eyepiece.

(3) Kneeling. When using the M2 in a fighting or hasty tripod-mounted position, kneel and grasp the control grips with your thumbs on the trigger. Place your eye in the HWTS eyepiece.

(4) Prone. Use the prone position when firing from a tripod that is sitting in a low position. Lie on the ground directly behind the gun and spread your legs a comfortable distance apart, with your toes pointed outward. Rest your left elbow on the ground and grasp the elevating handwheel of the T&E mechanism with your left hand. Grasp the right spade grip with your right hand, with the right thumb in position to press the trigger.

b. Aiming.

(1) Determine the range to the target. The aiming point of the M2 reticle depends on the range to the target. To determine range, you can use a range card, estimate range, use the reticle's aiming box, or use TRPs. The HWTS has two M2 reticles--a wide and a narrow field of view.

(2) Use the wide or narrow field of view to scan, to help determine range, and to engage targets.

(3) Use the indicators on the reticle to determine range, or use other methods of range determination.

(4) Set the mounting bracket range selector to NEAR for any target less than 1,400 meters and to FAR for any target beyond 1,400 meters.

(5) Using the T&E mechanism, sight the reticle aiming point on the target (bottom center).

(6) Take the slack out of the T&E by holding the M2 down and to one side. A loose T&E mechanism can move the HWTS reticle off the target's aiming point.

NOTE: Squad leader: observe the impact of the round to help the gunner adjust the sight to bring the strike of the round onto the target.

c. Breath Control. This fundamental of marksmanship does not change.

d. Trigger Squeeze. This fundamental of marksmanship does not change.

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