Thermal sights on weapons see heat. This has advantages in complete darkness, or in the presence of obscurants like dust storms, normal smoke, etc. because they can still pick out human and vehicle targets. Using deep infrared viewers also avoids “blooms” or whiteouts if someone flashes a bright light source like a flashlight at you. On the other hand, unless the lines on your map or lettering on that street sign have different heat values, thermal/ “deep infrared” sights aren’t going to help very much. This is why most 3rd and 4th generation night vision goggles use a combination of thermal and light intensifier technologies.
The AN/PAS-13 thermal weapons sights are used in more limited capacities, either as weapons sights or without a weapon as a sort of hand-held “night telescope.” The second generation of these sights is now being fielded, and are the subject of additional multi-billion orders from the US military.
ATS training includes all crew positions, refresher courses, cockpit resource management (initial and recurring), Instrument Refresher Courses, and the Instructor Preparatory Course. The contract also includes a security program, an Environmental Health & Safety program, a scheduling office, a student publications library, and learning center operations. Behind the scenes, a full Training System Support Center (TSSC) supports ATS operations & maintenance, research, and development engineering.
Like its C-130J MATS companion program, the C-130 ATS schoolhouse is headquartered at Little Rock AFB, AR. ATS also provides training at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, GA; Dyess AFB, TX; McChord AFB, WA; Minneapolis Air National Guard Base, MN; and Yokota Air Base, Japan. Lockheed Martin says that nearly 12,000 students from more than 25 countries depend on C-130 ATS for their training needs every year, and draw on 150 instructors to do so.