Military Night Vision Binoculars

Find Night Vision Binocular manufacturers and suppliers of infrared and thermal imaging binoculars for military and defense applications
Overview Military Night Vision Binoculars
By Mike Ball Last updated: July 17th, 2023

Military night vision binoculars and monoculars are devices that allow soldiers, special forces operators and other personnel to see in complete darkness or in poorly lit conditions. Essential for a wide variety of missions such as reconnaissance, target location and search and rescue, they may be handheld devices or affixed to helmets in a similar way to night vision goggles.

Image Intensification Technology

Most military night vision binoculars are based around image intensification technology, which uses a sensor that captures light from environmental sources such as the moon and stars. When the photos from this ambient light hit the sensor, electrons are released that can be used to create a visible image in scale with the original pattern of photons from the ambient light.

Infrared Binoculars

Some night vision binoculars may also use thermal imaging technology, which detects the infrared radiation emitted by all objects. This radiation is related to the temperature of the object, and so the radiation levels received by the detector can be used to create a color-coded output image that maps to temperature. Unlike image intensification-based devices, thermal night vision binoculars require no ambient light source, and can also see through fog, smoke and haze.


The technology used in devices such as night vision binoculars, as well as googles, scopes and other optics, can be classified into one of four generations:

Generation 1 – used relatively large and heavy image intensifiers with low resolution

Generation 2 – improved image intensifier technology with better resolution and resistance to bright light

Generation 3 – developed image intensification technology further with the addition of multi-alkali photocathodes, resulted in much improved image quality as well as battery life

Generation 4 – combined image intensification technology with infrared thermal imaging, allowing operators to see in complete darkness