Intelligent sights – from a design point of view

Intelligent sights provide increased first-round hit probability during day and night in all environments and conditions. These easy-to-use and customizable devices represent the latest state-of-the-art technology.

Senop provides high-performance night vision devices for harsh operating environments, intelligent sensor technology-based solutions and demanding turnkey system integration services for the defense and security sector. Our mission is to enable reliable situational awareness as well as increased firepower and mobility even in the most extreme conditions for our customers.

Intelligent sights are a key part of Senop’s product portfolio. We are at the sharpest edge of developing these devices.


The intelligence in a sight refers to the sight´s capability to assist the operator in tasks like measuring of distance, measuring and receiving ambient pressure/temperature information, automatic ammunition identifications, ballistic calculation / automated crosshair, lead angel calculation to a moving target and programming of an air burst projectile. And this is just what is already done today. Artificial intelligence is and will be in an even bigger role in the future. AI will help in pattern/target recognition, target tracking and automated triggering/permission to trigger when on target. AI will automatically identify the target and give a firing permission.  

Features that have been familiar from bigger weapon systems will become commonplace in small weapon systems as well. These features speed up operation and opening of fire, reduces human made errors and increases overall performance.

Senop afcd ti – ADVANCED FIRE CONTROL DEVICE thermal imager

The Senop AFCD TI, designed for SAAB Carl-Gustaf M3/M4 weapon systems, is a perfect example of an intelligent sight. It enables target engagement on day and night with a high first round hit probability, by utilizing an uncooled thermal imager, a day camera, a powerful Class 1 Laser Range Finder, an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), environmental sensors, full color OLED display, and a ballistic computer to easily execute ballistics and lead angle calculation. The AFCD TI is lightweight, easy-to-use and highly effective. Designing the technology for the scope so that it can fit into a compact housing and user-friendly format is a challenge, but we have been very successful in doing so.

From the design point of view, the most challenging aspects are environmental factors and recoil. The device must stand not only extreme temperatures, dust and dirt and humidity but also the heavy recoil of the weapon systems in harsh environments. Weapon systems like the CG/M4 are often regarded as recoilless weapons and for the user they certainly are. But when designing fine mechanics and optronics, the force the devices must endure is significant. This raises the requirements for a device very high and designing a safe and durable sight that also fulfills all MIL standards is a challenge.   


From an optical design standpoint, there are many important requirements, which often compete with each other. Such requirements are DRI values (Detection-Recognition-Identification), field of view (FOV) values, situational awareness requirements or software requirements. The professional user wants to see everything from miles away and the situational awareness must be good as well. FOV must be wide, and FOV and DRI values must support ballistics to maximum firing ranges.

Of course, one perfect solution does not exist, and compromises must be made during the design process. But an optimal solution can be found, and any problem can be solved with sophisticated optical design which takes into account all the requirements mentioned above and naturally the size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP) just to name a few features.  To summarize, we must always find suitable optical parameters with high mechanical strength and optical properties exactly suitable for the device in hand.


To make the design work in practice, a lot of testing is required, both in laboratories and in real operating conditions, preferable with professional end-users to receive important feed-back. Testing is normally an iterative process, which feeds the R&D with new requirements.

Designers also need to keep in mind and consider the financial requirements that guide the design in the desired direction. At the end of the day, compromises must be done in technical details to gain the big goal!