The French Army is buying 1,175 new electronic binoculars for its troops. The JIM LR 2 looks a little different than your traditional binoculars. There are four, instead of two, round glass windows in the front, and the usual two eyepieces in the back. The controls are electronic, not mechanical. Batteries are required. The zoom equipped stabilized binoculars also include infrared (night vision) electronics, as well as a laser rangefinder (max range of 5,000 meters) GPS, digital compass, a laser designator (max range of 10,000 meters), and communications systems to transmit coordinates of targets. The binoculars can also record video and still images. Weighing about 3 kg (6.7 pounds), one battery charge lasts four hours. Individuals can be detected at 5,000 meters and identified at about 900. Vehicles can be spotted at 8,600 meters and identified at 1,700.
Over the last decade, electronic binoculars like the JIM LR 2 have become more common. With these devices, and not a lot of training, troops can call in artillery or mortar fire, as well as GPS or laser guided bombs. More frequently, troops use them to keep track of the enemy and each other.