THE Infantry Trials and Development Unit (ITDU) based at the Land Warfare Centre showed off new night vision equipment to the minister for defence equipment, support and technology Philip Dunne during his recent visit to the unit.

Some £53m worth of new equipment is being purchased to help soldiers to identify targets more clearly, including night-vision and laser equipment that will enable them to spot potential threats earlier and better protect themselves against the enemy.

A state-of-the-art laser light that can illuminate targets from up to 800m away will be provided to all infantry soldiers.

Weighing just 244g, it fits onto the SA80 rifle to give more accurate firing in lowlight conditions.

And more than 15,000 new lightweight, ergonomic binoculars, pictured inset, have been ordered to be used alongside the upgraded laser lights.

Designed to be easier to hold, the new models are 50 per cent lighter but still offer excellent magnification.

The MoD has also invested in more than 4,000 additional headm o u n t e d night-vision systems specifically for the Army Reserve.

They allow soldiers to operate in poor light or in dark tunnels and buildings, and to better identify both threats and other personnel.

Mr Dunne said: “These binoculars, laser-aimers and night-vision goggles will improve situational awareness and reduce collateral damage across the battlefield.”

The ITDU is responsible for field trials on new equipment for the infantry, and the kit gets tested by soldiers virtually to destruction; it gets dropped from a height, submerged, blasted with sand and left out in minus 20 degrees – all conditions that soldiers might have to face when using it.