The military applicability of telescope technology has been recognised almost since its invention. Early adopters of telescopes and military binoculars gained an edge on the battlefield or at sea during naval drills by being able to see the opponent before he spotted you.
Military adaptations of binoculars include range finding for marine and stationary gun batteries, with objective lens separations of up to 15 metres and weights of up to 10 tonnes. Binoculars have also been utilised for tank armament viewing as well as driving tanks under biological or chemical assault scenarios.
The majority of modern military hand held binoculars feature distinct focusing of each side of the instrument, as opposed to civilian versions, which have a central focusing wheel and an adjustment accessible to one eyepiece to compensate for focusing discrepancies between the eyes. While practical, this configuration is not as strong as independently focused lenses.
Military binoculars are also more resistant to the tougher treatment they are expected to encounter.
Typically, they are wrapped in an impact resistant covering, typically made of rubberized material, which serves the dual goal of surviving hits and severe handling while also boosting the binoculars’ water resistance.
They may have additional aluminized coatings to retain the reflecting characteristics of the prisms that make up the light path of the binoculars, the better to endure immersion in water.
Some binocular types were equipped with passive infrared detectors sensitive to active infrared emissions during the Cold War.
Current military binocular types are outfitted with laser-blocking filters.
Military binoculars have considerable benefits over civilian equivalents for specialised applications such as hunting and fishing. The two most evident benefits are their ability to survive rigorous use and their enhanced water resistance. A thing to consider is the design of military binoculars to assure the user’s eye comfort throughout lengthy periods of observation.
Binoculars developed mainly for naval usage are an obvious contender for marine use, due to their increased waterproofing and ability to withstand the corrosive climate in which they were meant to be employed.
Military binoculars are therefore an alternative to consider if harsh circumstances are anticipated to be encountered when utilising them.
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