Thermal Imager for Dismounted Infantry (TIDI), is a UK MOD / Thales Optics Ltd. joint funded technology demonstrator programme and is part of the overall programme managed by QinetiQ. The aim of this programme is to evaluate and demonstrate a cost effective route to equipping the infantry soldier with a small, lightweight, rugged, short range, weapon mounted thermal imaging sight; intended for mass deployment. TIDI is an unusual programme in that the requirement was not rigidly defined in terms of a detailed specification. Instead, the requirement was expressed in terms of the question 'What weapon sight performance can be achieved for a volume production cost of 5000 Euro?' This requirement was subject to the constraints that the sight mass should be less than 500 g and the volume should be less than 500 ml.
To address the requirements of this programme, Thales Optics Ltd. have performed a detailed trade-off analysis considering alternative uncooled LWIR sensor formats and technologies. The effect of using alternative sensors on the sight cost, mass, volume, power and performance has been compared. A design study has been performed concentrating on simplification of the optics, mechanics and electronics to minimise the overall sight complexity. Based on this analysis, a demonstrator sight has been designed that is cost effective and suitable for volume manufacture, whilst still offering useful performance to the user. Six technical demonstrator units based on this design have been manufactured and evaluated.
This paper will give an overview of the work completed to date on the TIDI program, including a description of the demonstrator hardware and its performance.