Night Vision Devices

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Update 1.91 "Night Vision" added Night Vision Devices (NVDs) to a number of high tier tanks and helicopters. These devices provide a significant advantage in the now more common night battles. Two types of night vision devices were added, image intensifiers and thermal imaging systems. In addition infrared (IR) search lights were added to tanks which historically had them.

Night vision devices are usually unlocked as tier 3 - 4 modifications, however some tanks or helicopters have them access to them at tier 1 - 2. In addition some tanks have the option to upgrade their image intensifier to a thermal imager, by unlocking a second modification (on some tanks the thermal imager is included with the original modification).

Tanks and helicopters can have different night vision devices for different crew members, for example the gunners sight may have a thermal imager, while the commander's (or in the case of helicopters the pilot's) view may have an image intensifiers, and the driver's view a less powerful image intensifier. The commander's night vision system can be used in binoculars or third person.


Night Vision Controls
Control name Default Keybind
(PC keyboard & mouse)
Night Vision Mode  ??? Toggles between standard view and image intensifier / thermal veiw
IR Spotlight  ??? Toggles the IR searchlight on and off
Changing the colour scheme of the thermal sight  ??? Toggles the thermal sight between White Hot and Black Hot modes
Msg-info.png Images in this article were created at night with weather set to "Blind" so represent the operation of Night Vision devices under worst case conditions (or close to it).

Image Intensifiers

The most basic type of night vision device is an image intensifier. These devices work by amplifying the light which enters the sensor, as well as converting some light from the infrared spectrum into visible light. When image intensifiers are activated the screen picks up a green hue and you are generally able to see much further. Image intensifiers suffer from noise interference; this appears as a form of TV static over the screen; it is quite noticeable on early image intensifiers however more advanced systems (generally found on newer tanks) are less susceptible and the effect is much less noticeable, leading to them proving much clearer images.

Msg-important.png Image intensifiers can only be used a night.

Factors affecting performance

There are a number of characteristics which affect the performance of image intensifiers, these are the resolution, the light multiplication factor, and the susceptibility to noise. While individually some of these elements may have only a small impact on image quality, newer image intensifiers will have improvements to most or all of them, providing much better image quality.


Different image intensifiers are capable of producing images at a different resolutions. The higher the resolution that an image intensifier is capable of outputting, the clearer the final image will be. The image intensifiers on tanks in game typically have a resolution of 800 x 600 or 1600 x 1200, the difference between these resolutions is minimal and is often only noticeable when looking at long range targets.

Below is an example of looking at a T-80U, located approximately 1.25 km away from the player, using an 800 x 600 intensifier and a 1600 x 1200 intensifier (all other stats are equal). Notice how the distant tank is slightly clearer and the barrel is visible with the higher resolution image intensifier.

Msg-info.png Click on an image to open it in full screen and get a better view

Light Multiplier

The light multiplier of an image intensifier determines by how much it will amplify the available light. Image intensifiers with a higher multiplier will produce a brighter image with more details visible. At present there is not a massive difference between the most and least powerful image intensifiers on tanks, however it is noticeable, more so when an IR searchlight is in use.

The images below show the view of a target from a T-80U through the main gunsight (light multiplier of 9.0) and the driver's periscope (light multiplier 5.0), the target is being illuminated with an IR searchlight. Notice how the image through the gunsight is generally brighter and details like the grass and bushes are much more visible (there is obviously a zoom difference, but you can see that more is visible regardless).

Msg-info.png Click on an image to open it in full screen and get a better view


In game image intensifiers are subject to noise. This presents itself as something resembling TV static covering the screen. More advanced image intensifiers suffer from this much less so give a much clearer image. The images below show the same view when using an image intensifier with a high noise level and a low noise level (all other stats are equal). Notice how the high noise level sight looks slightly fuzzy and has a sort of static effect over the image, while the low noise one is clear.

Msg-info.png Click on an image to open it in full screen and get a better view

Infrared Spotlights

The effect of turning on an IR searchlight on visibility

In addition to image intensifiers some tanks are fitted with Infrared searchlights. Infrared (IR) searchlights are like regular searchlights, but they emit light on the infrared spectrum instead of the visible light spectrum; this means that the light they produce cannot normally be seen. However as image intensifiers use light from the infrared spectrum and convert it to visible light, so IR searchlights can be seen through image intensifiers.

When activated an IR search not be visible unless you are looking through an image intensifier. If you are looking through an image intensifier then the area where the light is pointing will be brightly illuminated. The effect of an IR searchlight can be seen in the image to the right.

While IR searchlights obviously make seeing targets a lot easier in poor conditions their use does have a major drawback: any other players using image intensifiers can also see the light from your searchlight. As seen in the images below, by activating your IR searchlight you will immediately give your position away to any enemy players who are using an image intensifier. Other players on the ground will see the area where your light is pointing lit up, and the light itself will appear as a bright spot on the screen. Likewise helicopter will see the area lit up, and even though they may not be in a position to see the light itself, due the spread of the beam the lit up area will form a sort of triangle with the tip pointing towards the source.

Factors affecting performance

The main differentiating characteristics between different IR searchlights is their maximum range, and how wide the beam is. The maximum range is the furthest distance at which the IR searchlight can still illuminate objects. The beam width is measured in degrees and determines how wide the beam is, it can be seen in the image below.

Some IR searchlights are also slightly more or less powerful (brighter) than others, but at present the difference between those currently in game is so small it is not worth talking about.

A top down view of a tank with its IR searchlight on, showing the beam width.

Thermal Imagers

Coming Soon