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Tank crew visibility has been a problem since the invention of the tank in the early 20th century. Most tankers are restricted to viewing the world through small armored horizontal slits, showing the narrowest view of the vehicle’s surroundings. Increased visibility makes tanks and tankers more vulnerable – the larger the window or other aperture to increase visibility, the greater the possibility it could be penetrated by incoming tank projectiles, small caliber rounds, or artillery shrapnel.
A new vision system for tank crews promises to cure this problem of poor visibility. The Multifunction Vehicle Protection (MVP) Sensor rings the exterior of a tank with high definition cameras, giving crews an all-around view of their surroundings. This will allow tankers to identify and deal with threats faster than ever before, increasing overall vehicle effectiveness and battling crew fatigue.
The system developed by BAE Systems includes four HD cameras installed on the hull of a tank or armored vehicle. Each camera has a 1920 x 1200 resolution, a 120 degree horizontal field of view, and a 75 degree vertical field of view.
Each camera is also tuned to the longwave infrared spectrum, also known as thermal imaging or passive night vision, allowing crew members to see at night and in poor weather, and through dust, fog, and smoke, according to popularmechanics.com.
In the past, different physical positions meant that each crew member has a slightly different view of the world. The MVP Sensor supplements that with the same, HD quality 360 degree view for each and every crew member. This could allow, for example, the tank driver to call out an object for the crew’s attention based on a common view of the battlefield. It could also allow crew members who typically don’t engage scanning for threats, such as the main gun loader, to join in watching the feed from the MVP Sensor’s unblinking gaze.