The continuous all weather, day and night watch over the battle area is termed surveillance. Personnel
engaged in a surveillance mission usually report the information they obtain. They use an intelligence
spot report or other report as required by the unit SOP. The information they collect contributes to an
overall knowledge of the enemy situation.
Target acquisition, as it applies to RSTA, is the use of night observation devices (NOD) which aid the
soldier to see targets in the dark. Most of these devices can also be used in surveillance. NOD allows
them to detect, identify, and locate targets to permit weapons to be brought to bear.
RSTA devices can also be designated either active or passive. Which they are depends on how the
system operates. An active device projects energy toward a target. This energy can be detected by
the enemy. A passive device either detects energy or uses available energy as a detection means.
Radar is active; starlight scopes are passive. The range of active devices normally exceeds that of
passive devices. Where they can be employed, however, passive devices are normally preferred for
MP. The primary reason for this is that passive devices are not detectable by the enemy and usually
have sufficient range to accomplish the MP task.
Now that you have an understanding of some of the terms that will be used, the following paragraphs
will discuss some of the more common RSTA devices found in MP units.
AN/PVS-5A Night Vision Goggles (NVG)
These NVG are worn like eyeglasses and leave the hands free. The goggles can be worn with or
without the combat helmet. They are used for short-range viewing. They may be used for dismounted
movement, operating vehicles, reading maps, administering first aid, and similar tasks. They weigh
about 1.9 pounds. The effective range is 150 meters and they have a 40 degree field of vision. If only
starlight is available rather than moonlight, the range is about 50 meters. This system is both active
and passive. It is usually used in the passive mode. By using the built-in infrared light source, images
within two meters can be seen. Figure 3-1 is an illustration of this device.
Figure 3-1. AN/PVS-5