Its 0130 hours and you are abruptly pulled from your sweet dream land when your cot is kicked by your Team Leader, “Get up, lets go”. You know the mission, you’ve been briefed, shown the map locations, given the op-order, and conducted rehearsals; its go time.
This is a regular occurrence in the Airborne Infantry and any special ops world. During the day time hours we are at a disadvantage, we carry on average 100 lbs of equipment which makes us slower and fatigues us quicker, the 110-130 degree heat saps our strength, the enemy can more easily see us and maneuver quicker through the terrain, and the civilians are going through their daily routines making it easier for the enemy blend in and disappear like a ghost. But at night enemy beware, for; we are masters of the night. The air is cool allowing us to use full strength and the civilians are asleep, but most importantly, we can see while the enemy can’t.
Extensive grueling training goes into perfecting night time operations. Our technology allows us to see in the darkest conditions with clarity, either by enhancing the light available or by generating thermal imagery from the heat given from the environment as well as people and animals. Now, don’t believe what you saw in the old Predator movies where the thermal images were some skewed rainbow type blob in the general shape of a human. The technology the Military uses shows crisp thermal imaging usually in black and white, but the colors can also be changed to red or green. The AN/PAS-23 Thermal monocular attaches to the helmet and can be worn over one eye, which is very convenient in comparison to the older models such as the PAS-13D which were large and cumbersome.
The night vision generally used is the PVS 14, another monocular that can be attached to the helmet for convenience. Looking through the night vision takes a while to get used to, everything is green and since it goes over one eye you end up losing a lot of your depth perception. Through all of the training Infantry and special ops go through, looking through night vision becomes second nature and they learn how to adapt.
One of the most vital pieces of equipment for a stalker of the night is the infrared laser used for aiming ones weapon at night. The PEQ-15 is an infrared laser which mounts to your weapon, you can have a pressure switch plugged into it and attach it to your cool guy pistol grip which allows you to turn your laser on and off with a little squeeze. Not only are these lasers used for aiming, but they have a flood light setting as well to illuminate areas that are dark even with your night vision. The best part about all of this is…. the enemy can’t see ANY of it! Well…as long as they don’t have night vision…
Now that you are decked out with your thermal, your night vision, and your infrared laser with a pressure switch, you are ready to go stalk through the empty night time streets and abandoned fields on the search for terrorists. In case any of you were wondering, yes you can buy all of this equipment, it will cost you around $24,000 all together, but you can buy it. Woe be to the night time intruder in your house.