By Paolo Valpolini
“Welcome to the future of optics,” is the opening statement of Benny Kokia, VP marketing and sales at Meprolight, the SK Group company specialised in small arms sights. Meprolight and Israel Weapons Industry, also part of the SK Group, work closely developing solutions based on the needs of their customers, the Israeli Defence Forces above all, synergies within the Group being key to the development of state-of-the-art systems. Presenting the new product, the MEPRO 02, a MIL-STD qualified red dot sight which brings a number of features that make it a top of class player, Kokia is adamant in telling the audience that the development of this new sight was based on a survey launched two years ago among the Special Forces community in Israel and in friendly countries, which identified the lack of a sight that might be used on many platforms, providing tactical flexibility.
Another key message was that “the MEPRO 02 is immediately available to military and law enforcement customers, it is not at prototype stage, it is not undergoing qualification, it is a product and we are ready to take orders.” In fact those military units that took part in the development already received a first shipment of items and are using them for further tests. As for the commercial market, the product will be available in the third quarter of this year. “It is the first time that an electro-optic manufacturer puts on the market a MIL-SPEC sight with the add-on value of a multi-pattern reticle,” Benny Kokia adds.
SWAP-C (Size, Weight and Power-Cost) was a design concern, the MEPRO 02 being quite smaller than the MEPRO MS, 73x56x68mm versus 116x60x68 mm, as well as lighter, less than 285 grams versus 310 grams, including the CR123 battery which ensures at least 15,000 hours of operation with the reticle illumination set at medium intensity, the MS lasting only 8,000 hours. Designed for SF use, it can operate down to 10 meters depth in water.
The sight has eight lighting levels for daytime operations and four for night ops, an automatic brightness feature being also available, the sensor being located at the front of the sight, on the low-left corner. A control keypad with three buttons is located on the left side, protected in a recess that avoids buttons to be hit accidentally. Pressing briefly the button marked “NV” allows shifting from night to day lighting, the up and down buttons increasing or decreasing the lighting level. “Once the operator powers on the sight, using the up button, the system sets by default the automatic brightness mode, hitting the up or down arrow allowing to shift into manual mode,” Elad Davidson, the MEPRO 02 product manager tells EDR On-Line, Benny Kokia adding that the keypad has been fully tested also with gloves. The elevation zeroing knob is in the back of the sight, while the deviation one is on the right side, any click representing 0.5 MOA.
However the key distinguishing feature of the MEPRO 02 is the availability of four pre-set aiming point patterns, i.e. Dot, Bullseye, 200 meters and 300 meters, the aiming point diameter being 2 MOA. To switch from one to the other the operator must press the up button for over two seconds. “However the setting pattern can be easily adapted to the customer will,” Elad Davidson explains.
Five LED segments that can lit up separately allow to show the different patterns to the shooter in the 25×20 mm sighting window. These are pre-loaded at company level, a number of patterns being available for different calibres and ammunition, allowing i.e. to mount the MEPRO 02 both on 5.56 and 7.62 mm assault rifles, and to use both subsonic and supersonic ammunition. “We also included a superelevation function that allows using the MEPRO 02 with underbarrel grenade launchers,” Benny Kokia adds, underlining that as all other MEPRO sights also the new one is fully parallax free. The MEPRO 02 can be provided with red or green reticle; “many SF units are now preferring the green version, however some more traditionalists are still looking for the red reticle,” he continued.
“One of the hurdles we had to overcome was putting together a short design with the customer’s request to have no light signature when looking at the sight from the front, with any lighting level,” the MEPRO 02 product manager says. According to Meprolight representatives the MEPRO 02 has a very clear optic window that also does not generate any reflection, making filters or covers useless.
The energy management includes a motion sensor, which switches off the sight when no movement is perceived for a set-up time, and a sleep mode, which can be set at four or eight hours by pressing for some time the NV and the up buttons together.
The MEPRO 02 can be fitted with a quick release mechanism for installing it on a Picatinny rail; a short length item, it allows plenty of room on the rail for other accessories, such as MEPRO MX-3 magnifier, similar systems from other companies being also accepted, or night vision devices, here too either from Meprolight or third parties. “We note however that many customers are happy with the one-stop-shop concept, and thus choose complete sighting solutions from us,” Benny Kokia says.
The MEPRO 02 is made of four main blocks, the hood, made of very durable composite material, the base being in aluminium, the optic block and the battery compartment, This allows simplifying maintenance, as repair operations are carried out replacing the faulty block, allowing a much easier training of unit maintenance personnel. The sight can be further disassembled in smaller units, this allowing flexibility in contracts where local content is required, the degree of work done in the customer’s country and the corresponding transfer of technology being trimmable according to the situation.
As said the MEPRO 02 is a ready to deliver product, first shipments having already been made. “We can currently provide the black version,” Meprolight’s VP marketing and sales tells us, “then in six months time we will start delivering dark earth models, and later on other colours,” he concludes.
Photos courtesy Meprolight