The infrared LED on Nightfox devices is very visible to enemy night vision users. For this reason, using digital night vision in combat could be incredibly dangerous.
Military forces have night vision units using image intensifier tubes, costing thousands of dollars. These devices do not require infrared LEDs. A military force can see digital night vision users, without being seen themselves.
Why are we giving this warning?
We are aware that some people are considering buying digital night vision devices for use in the ongoing and terrible war in Ukraine, potentially in real combat situations. We would advise extreme caution to anyone considering purchasing our night vision devices for use in Ukraine.
Why could donating digital night vision be harmful?
There are two reasons that digital devices like Nightfox could be harmful to their users:
1. Digital night vision devices emit a faint red glow when the integrated IR LED is on.
2. The infrared light from the LED will be visible to anyone else using night-vision devices. If your opponents have night vision, they will be able to see you, even at long range.
Do all digital night vision products have infrared LEDs?
Some of our devices are capable of working without active infrared illumination. However, we would stress that the passive performance relies on ambient light, seriously reduces performance and that these devices are very much not designed for use in war.
This clip is from a night vision device. The Infrared torch is clearly visible. This is how Nightfox users will appear to opponents. Infrared light is invisible to the human eye, but is very visible to night vision users - including hostile parties.
When is digital night vision useful?
Digital night vision is beneficial if you can be sure a hostile party does not have night vision themselves, or if your position is already obvious (for example, travelling as part of a convoy.)
What we're doing to help
Our sympathies go out to all the people wrapped up in this terrible conflict. As a company and as individuals, we will be making donations to the Ukraine crisis appeal from the Red Cross. We hope that the Nightfox community will consider donating, too.