The Fight at Night
Lighting up the Battlefield
ATN-Ukraine, which is helping defenders of Ukraine to see at night and shoot straight, did a lot more than paint Easter eggs for the Orthodox holiday this year. The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council member has provided millions of dollars worth of cutting edge thermal imaging technology to foreign legionnaires and Ukrainian soldiers on the battlefield.
ATN co-founder Mark Vayn, who was born in Ukraine, and the company co-founder James Munn have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine repel Russian invaders. Along with ATN, Ammo Inc. has pledged to donate one million rounds of ammunition. Retired Navy Seals, including Shawn Ryan, and Detachment A deadbeats are also raising awareness among Americans about Ukraine’s plight and why soldiers should be able to see at night.
Ukraine’s military needs are changing as battles shift to Donbas and southern regions. The urgency of equipping soldiers with night optical/observation devices (nvds/nods), was underscored on Tuesday by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Consultative Group, a gathering of military leaders from 40 countries in Ramstein, Germany.
When Ukrainian forces battled Russia-occupation forces in 2014 their lack of night-vision hampered them. Since then they have been stocking up. America provided a batch of 2,500 military systems in 2018, and other countries have been donating hardware. On April 9, Britain promised to send more night-vision equipment to Ukraine. And although America attempted to strictly control the export of night-vision technology for years, today there are many systems available on the open market, including ATN’s gear, which has been licensed to export to Ukraine. Come Back Alive, a fundraiser for Ukraine’s military, has supplied more than 1,000 thermal imagers since 2014. Other systems may be adapted to see through the gloom, as well.
ATN contraptions can used as a scope or with a head/helmet mount, or even used on rifles and drones. They are also useful tool for driving, walking, map reading, surveillance, administering, and vehicle maintenance or repair. The IR light-emitting source in these goggles accurately draws the image in dark conditions and with the image intensifier tube, the results get even better.
The company in April announced shipments of approximately 9,000 night vision and thermal optics being shipped to Ukrainian forces in an effort to help them in the field.
“Night optics are critical to the successful defense of Ukraine from the Russian invaders, and we are confident this will be a large step in improving the capabilities of the Ukrainian forces in the field,” Vayn said.
Included in the upcoming shipment is the ATN BinoX 4T, the Smart HD thermal binocular with laser rangefinder, and the ATN PS31–3 Night Vision Goggles, a dual night vision goggle system that has become a standard for operators and tactical units around the globe.
Vayn has thanked U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25) for helping cut through the paperwork.
“Thank you for helping to cut the time of the normal bureaucracy to a bare minimum. We, and the Ukrainian people, owe you a debt of gratitude,” he said.
News about the shipment led Graz-based Chien-Chi Chang — the Muhammed Ali of photo journalism — to raise awareness about the importance of good night vision. The Taiwan native for weeks has been crisscrossing frontline regions documenting how western military assistance is being put to use, especially at night, as a buttress against Russia’s genocidal war.
Chang leaves on Wednesday for frontline Dnipro, near where night-time battles erupted this week in neighboring Zaporizhia region. Figuring out who is using what night vision gear and how is on the list of his assignments. So, if you’re a nod-using legionnaire or member of a volunteer of a territorial defense unit, drop @dronereport or @atnzaporizhia a line and he’ll document you using it.