Australia's oldest & most respected night vision & thermal imaging specialists - supplying night vision, thermal imaging & specialised low light imaging kit to the Australian Government & Defence since 1990
Australia's oldest & most respected night vision & thermal imaging specialists

When is Gen III not necessarily Gen III & what's the story on Gen IV?

Beware of Tube Substitutions:  

It is extremely difficult, if not near impossible for the purchaser of Image Intensified equipment such as Night Vision Devices / Scopes (NVD), Night Vision Modules (NVM) and/or Image Intensified CCTV cameras (ICCD) to identify whether they have received the correctly specified kit against their order. 

There are some avenues available to the buyer to authenticate that he has received what he has ordered by way of the Image Intensifier Tube (IIT) contained within his kit. Very few agencies in our region have testing equipment available to verify the IIT's specifications against the requirement of the order.

In a well-publicised instance not so long ago, a number of Israelis were prosecuted and subsequently imprisoned for their involvement in an IIT substitution scam.

Apparently, they were importing US Gen III IIT's into Israel on behalf of their client, the Israeli government against a Gen III IIT order, however were supplying the domestic client with lower grade Gen II+ IIT's unbeknown to their client and re-exporting the Gen III IIT's to prohibited destinations.

As it was somewhat difficult for the end-user to detect the difference between high-end Gen II+ & low-grade Gen III IIT's, it took quite a while for the end-user to become aware of the substitution scam.

Night Vision Image Intensifier TubesImage Intensifier Tubes

It is imperative that the buyer insists on a Birth (Authenticity) Certificate for each & every Image Intensifier Tube supplied within their kit upon delivery. The Birth Certificate will identify the tube by it's serial number and will list such characteristics as luminous sensitivity, radiant sensitivity, resolution, luminous gain, signal to noise ratio and the like.

THE BUYER SHOULD ALSO BE AWARE of the 8+ grades of Gen III IIT's. It's not uncommon for dealers to promote 'Gen III', but not specify which of the grades of Gen III they are supplying. The least expensive is Gen III Commercial non MILSPEC, which is a very low resolution with a low yield & SNR BUT STILL A GEN III. For non-restricted IIT specs, please see here.

So as to provide our clientele additional assurance and purchase protection, we supply Birth (Authenticity) Certificates with any/all equipment that contain, house or utilise IIT's. All IIT's that are provided as OEM also are accompanied with their Birth Certificates.

What's the story on Gen 4?  

Due to issues regarding quality & life longevity of Gen IV filmless Image Intensifier Tubes, Gen IV was discontinued & abandonded shortly after being introduced to the market.

In 2002, Gen 4 was no longer produced due to not meeting the US government’s requirements for long term use as compared with the current Gen III filmed tubes.

The compromise is the "Gen III Pinnacle" Tube. This is a thin-filmed tube that offers the benefits of anti-haloing, higher signal-to-noise ratio, and higher contrast as found on the Gen IV technology but is a reliable long-lasting Image Intensifier Tube. Gen III Pinnacle is only available within the USA and for Australian end-users, Gen III Omni IV is still the maximum available.

The rejected Gen IV Image Intensiier Tubes were 'sold-off' to an on-line retailer for disposal.  Many years later, it appears the Tubes still haven't sold & still can be found on the Internet, most probably due to the technology failures of the design!