what's gen 3? read the faq :> in a nutshell though, gen 3 is the latest best civilian stuff. even the military still uses it apparently. better resolution, better gain-up. in other words, better than gen 2 which is much better than gen 1...
I may stand corrected but the fluctuations in NVG stuff is a little like IC chips. It roller coasters due to demand or lack of.
There is a lot of Russian (don't even think about Chinese) NV stuff coming into the country. It is mostly the optics being imported - usually pretty good but with Good ol American ITT guts in place of the Gen --1 Russian circuits. ie even if it IS Gen 1 it has over-bright or flash suppresion circuitry so your unit doesn't immolate if somebody lights a cigarette.
When ITT gets a huge contract (like US Coast Guard) then the availabilty of the basic amplifier circuits are limited hence the price may rise a bit.
There is a HUGE diff between militar grade Gen 3 and the stuff being made available for civvies. Anybody who has used military Gen 3 will tell you the first time they looked thru a Gen 3 after being used to Gen 1 or even 2, they almost had a sexual experience! It is magnificent. I stood on a hill 4 miles from the Pacific ocean with a PaveHawk pilots' Gen3 helmet and it just blew me away. I could see anti-collision strobes on commercial jets probably inbound to Vancouver Canada 2 INCHES above the horizon. Somebody do the math. They are at 38,000 feet and you can spot them almost right on an extended horizon. The sky looks like a planetarium controller went berserk and turned everything UP full. It reminded me of some SciFi movie where they were looking at the stars from a planet in the center of the galaxy and everything was RIGHT THERE. AWESOME!!
Gen4 doesn't exist yet. Don't tell the pilots of the 17's that but officially it just isn't yet. Rumour has it that they are full face plate, full peripheral with HUD style magnification ability - but that's only a viscious rumour.
A quick(but by no means exhaustive) answer of why GEN III equipment hasn't come down in price is because of supply & demand, their tightly regulated export, expense of manufacturing and the fact that the latest generations (no pun intended) of the image intensifiers are far more expensive to make (and have higher resolving power)
Here's official recognition of GEN IV by Litton, now a subsidiary of Northrup-Grumman:
Litton Makes First Delivery of Generation IV Image Intensifier Tubes To U. S. Army
ARLINGTON, VA, October 11, 1999 Ö Litton Industries (NYSE: LIT) announced today its Electro-Optical Systems Division, with operations in Garland, Texas and Tempe, Arizona, delivered the first production quantities of Generation (Gen) IV Image Intensifier Tubes to the U. S. Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD).
Gen IV Image Intensifier Tubes have resulted from Litton Electro-Optical Systems (LEOS) Divisionís intense efforts to expand tube performance levels by taking advantage of new technology developments, and by re-thinking traditional tube design concepts. These investigations allow Litton to produce image intensifier tubes with no ion barrier film. This barrier, in conventional Gen III tubes, prevents damage to the photocathode coating by shielding it from ions backscattered from the microchannel plate (MCP). The unfilmed tube breakthrough is significant enough that PM-NV has designated unfilmed tubes, Gen IV. Gen IV tubes used in night vision goggles have demonstrated substantial increases in target detection range and resolution, particularly at extremely low light levels.
Mr. Steve Lambert, President of Litton Electro-Optical Systems Division, said, "through dedicated research and advanced image tube development, Litton has elevated image tube technology to a higher level of performance in several key areas. The end result of this effort is to provide our customer -- the soldier, sailor, or airman -- with dramatic new capabilities to ensure mission success. We are excited about the advantages our developments provide the U. S. Forces in the field".
Gen IV Image Intensifier Tubes represent LEOSí latest efforts in advancing the state of the art in image intensifier tube technology. The Gen IV, MX-10130E/UV tube will be used in the US Special Operations Command's (USSOCOM) Improved Night/Day Fire Control & Observation Device (INOD) weapon sight, which is currently undergoing Initial Production Testing.
Under its Omnibus V contract with the U. S. Army Communications, Electronics Command, Ft. Monmouth, NJ, LEOS is also producing MX-11620/UV Gen III Image Intensifier Tubes, AN/PVS-7D Infantry Night Vision Goggles, AN/PVS-14 Monocular Night Vision Systems, and AN/AVS-6 Aviator Night Vision Systems. Spare parts for several night vision devices are also being provided.
Litton Electro-Optical Systems produces image intensified systems for the U. S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Special Operations, and many international customers, in addition to producing infrared detectors for thermal imaging systems, optical components, thin film optical coatings, and laser protection devices.
Litton is a leader in worldwide technology markets for advanced electronic, defense, and information systems, and designs, builds and overhauls surface ships for military and commercial customers.
Hi I have been reading some of your bulletins about imageintensifier, I have owned one since it was took off a argy rifle in the FalklandísI have it fitted to a number of rifles and used it to great effect of vermincontrol, is this similar to what you are discussing?? Thanks jimmy.