Electro optical systems
Elektro optical (EO) cameras are the targeting systems for most helicopters in EECH. These cameras are used for observation and targeting. There are three types used in EECH:
- pure optical systems
- TV systems
- FLIR systems
Not all helicopters in EECH have all three systems.
Pure optical systems
Pure optical systems works much like a telescope or binocular. These systems just uses lenses and mirrors. The pure optical systems are the simplest of the EO systems. They have no capabilities for tracking and locking targets, and usually don't have any more sophisticated aiming devices than an old-fashioned iron-sights. The pure optical systems can't be viewed on a MFD, but have to be used by looking through an eye-piece. Usually only the co-pilot has such an eye-piece.
In EECH the Apache's DVO (Direct View Optics) and the Ka-52's periscope are pure optical systems.
NB. The Hokum's periscope in EECH is still modeled like more advanced EO systems, but that is likely to change.
The TV systems use a TV camera and a monitor for displaying the TV image. Most helicopters in EECH have just monochrome TV systems, only the Comanche has a full colour TV system. In the US helicopters the TV systems is usually called Day TV (DTV), while the Russian helicopters use Low Light Level TV (LLLTV).
LLLTV records in wavelengths towards the longer range of the visual spectrum (almost infra-red light), which gives them better vision in dusk and dawn conditions. But LLLTV still does not have full night capability.
'Forward Looking Infra Red' (FLIR) uses a camera which detects infra-red light (heat) and displays the result on a monitor. Warm objects will appear as lighter, while colder objects will be darker on the FLIR display. This makes it relatively easy to detect targets, since they will usually be much hotter than their surroundings. FLIR also works equally well (if not better) at night than with daylight. Disadvantage of FLIR is that IR-light does not show as much detail as regular light. FLIR also does not work very well in rain.
Most EO systems used on helicopters also includes a laser. The laser is used for measuring range and for guiding lases guided missiles (like the Vikhr and the Hellfire K-model). Having accurate range is very important when shooting unguided munitions (guns and unguided rockets), so a laser is invaluable when using such weapons.