Author Topic: TRT 0B-42 Night vision device  (Read 420 times)

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Rodolfo Peirano

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TRT 0B-42 Night vision device
« on: October 31, 2019, 01:47:53 PM »
Dear friends,

This binocular, which I found during my return trip from Ostend, is a night vision model TRT 0B-42 built in the 1970s for the French Navy.

Never seen before, it consists of a black painted sturdy aluminium body with rubber protections for the lenses and rubber shells for the big eyepieces.

The lenses of the eyepieces are quite small 15 mm, while those of the objectives are oversized 80 mm wide; both are covered with a bluish anti-reflective layer. His 4xs mean that he has a theoretical exit pupil of a good 20 mm, even if this is not very meaningful because, in reality, the image is not observed directly from the binoculars, but is reproduced on the eyepiece in a fluorescent screen.

The eyepieces have a strange revolver mechanism, with which the external lens can be changed: The device that allows the rotation is marked with 0, -2 -4 +2 but I'm not able to explain the meaning: it could be the correction diopters.

The device is part of the 2nd generation of night vision devices, and works through the amplification of residual light, therefore it does not need to use infrared lamps. The electronic tubes to amplify the residual light are located inside each eyepiece and are connected to the electrical part by means of two external electric cables.

At the front of the viewer, there is the waterproof housing for the batteries; at first glance it seems that it can contain 2 or 3 superimposed button batteries, similar to those of electronic watches, but unfortunately, on the device, the appropriate voltage is not indicated.

To operate the device there are three switches (but, until I can test it, I cannot describe its exact use).

One, in the shape of a sphere, is located at the bottom, and can be operated with the thumb. Another consists of a small lever, located at the front. But the strangest one is constituted by a pin positioned between the eyepieces, and it's activated (when one bring the binoculars to the eyes) by the pressure of the observer's forehead.

Furthermore, in the lower part of the bridge there is another regulation by a potentiometer.

The focusing is on both eyepieces, but it is sufficient to move one, which the other follows the movement. Even the IPD can be adjusted via a single eyepiece, as these are joined in the center by a coupling rod.

Its weight is 2100 grams; heavy, but near the sphere switch there is a threaded tripod mount.

These 4x binoculars, as can be seen from the added label, have been revised by D.C.A.N. (Directions des Constructions et Armes Navales) of Toulon in 1990.

Brief history of T.R.T.:

The T.R.T. (Télécommunications Radioélectriques et Téléphoniques) was a French society established in 1952 and derived from the S.I.P.L. (Société Industrielle des Procédés Loth) born in 1921 in Paris. The T.R.T. was mainly involved in the study of “optronic” (a combination of optics with electronics and computers) and designed devices for military use.

The TRT optronic devices can be divided in four categories:

•   Active infrared devices (required by I.R. source)

•   Passive detection devices (residual light amplification)

•   Thermal radiation detection devices.

•   Missile guidance devices using light beams.

In the early 1960s, residual light amplifying tubes in the visible spectrum began to be designed. This was a considerable upheaval in military technique because there was no longer the need for an I.R. reflector. to illuminate the image to be observed.

The LEP (Laboratoires d'électronique et de physique appliquée) that dealt with research on the technique according to which: “the electrons resulting from the impact of photons on a photocathode are amplified by multiple reflections on the walls of small glass tubes to produce the image on a screen” , developed an excellent amplifier tube (the P400) which was mass-produced by HYPERELEC of Brive (France).

This device produces a light amplification of 1000x and, with the light of the stars only, allows one to observe the images up to a range of 150 m.

TRT used the P400 under license, for the design and production of new 1x binoculars for driving vehicles; the TRT 0B-41 binoculars were made in 1969 and produced in only 1,500 units.

The same P400 tube was then used in an improved 4x observation binoculars designed for the French navy in 1975 and called OB-42 and produced in only 1,400 units.

These binoculars were used, among other things, by the 1° R.P.I.Ma (1er Régiment de Parachutistes d'Infanterie de Marine)

A curiosity:

In a chapter of the French crime novel by Serge Gueguen, "Vol de coke," it is clearly mentioned, by one of the characters from the novel, the use of these binoculars.

. . . Il était repassé à son logement pour récupérer ses jumelles OB-42 adaptées à la vision nocturne. Vers 22 heures il sentit une certaine animation dans la cour . . .

everyone can learn from everyone - Rodolfo

Niall McLaren

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Re: TRT 0B-42 Night vision device
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2019, 03:40:31 PM »
Very nice Rodolfo. It looks like something Q would offer 007 in the forlorn hope he'd return it in one piece. ;)
"A little bit of something beats a whole lot of nothing." - Little Richard

Rodolfo Peirano

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Re: TRT 0B-42 Night vision device
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2019, 08:07:29 PM »
Yes Niall  ;D
everyone can learn from everyone - Rodolfo