Beyond The Sprues

Modelling => Ideas & Inspiration => Engineering Dept. => Topic started by: Logan Hartke on March 17, 2020, 04:50:06 AM

Title: Tank Thermal Sights in the Cold War
Post by: Logan Hartke on March 17, 2020, 04:50:06 AM
Hi everyone,

I've dipped my toe into a topic that I previously new next to nothing about and still find myself woefully under-equipped for. Long story short, I'm trying to determine which tanks had thermal imaging sights prior to the Persian Gulf War. Please correct my errors (I'll edit this post) and add to my very incomplete knowledge.

Here is a rough timeline of the MBTs that I believe started getting thermal sights before 1991


So, from what I can see, by 1990, the tanks in service with thermal sights are US Army M60A3s with TTS, M1 and M1A1 with TIS, West German Bundeswehr Leopard 1A5s with EMES 18 and Leopard 2 with EMES 15, Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2s, British Royal Army Challenger 1 Mk 2 & 3 and Chieftain Mk 11 with TOGS, South Korean K1 Type 88 with TIS, Swiss Army Panzer 87s, JGSDF Type 90 Kyū-maru, and finally Royal Danish Army Leopard 1A5s.

Some sources seem to list the T-80UK command tank as roughly concurrent with the T-80U (1985), but the most reliable sources I've found state that delays with the Agava thermal sight meant that it didn't even enter Soviet Army service, just development and test models. It would enter Russian and export (Cyprus and South Korea) service in the mid-90s, but the T-80UKs were always the last in a batch delivered, suggesting they were still having trouble procuring individual systems as late as 1997.

Open questions I have:
Hopefully some of this information is helpful to others and some people around here that are smarter than me can help fill in some of the holes above.