Understanding the Origin of Thermal Targets

Man in Army uniform

Thermal targets are used across all branches of the military for active training with thermal scopes to better prepare the warfighter for battle. But where did this idea come from? In the early 1900’s, devices were created to see people during the day or night using only their body temperatures. Also known as night vision devices, these elements were first introduced during World War 2 by the German Army. Development of these British-soldier-007devices began by AEG in 1935 and became widely popular during the Vietnam War. The United States began developing parallel systems known as infrared night sighting devices which were introduced during World War 2 and the Korean War to assist snipers. With these new developments, thermal targets began appearing on the horizon.

The first-generation passive devices were introduced during the Vietnam War and relied on ambient light instead of infrared light sources. These devices were used to distinguish friendly soldiers from enemy armies. Sources are unsure who invented the first “active thermal target” due to their variations in the market, but Caliente began developing and perfecting this idea 5 years ago.

Caliente was first introduced to this idea when a competitor won a large military contract requiring thermal targets. We quickly realized the potential in this business and began researching why these thermal targets were so popular. After a couple years of exploring military databases, codes, and other competitors in the industry, Caliente launched their Military target line in March of 2013.

As we discovered, the Army developed a specification for their ranges in April of 2004. This specification stated which thermal targets should be used for training, how they should look, where they should be set up, and what power requirements were needed. Caliente brought its experience with UL (Underwriters Laboratory) safety to its target designs. We developed a much safer, creative, and vastly improved target to the market. Our targets were able to withstand five times the amount of shots as our nearest competitor, comparing 300 to 1,500 shots.

Caliente listened to the military’s requests. People began to recognize the improved design including much higher safety features and we quickly became the leader in the industry. Serving over 40 bases in 25 states and 10 foreign countries, Caliente is now the nation’s leader in producing and selling active thermal targets to the US military.

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