Pictured is an M16A1 rifle with AN/PVS-2 Starlight scope mounted. Scientific development started on these “passive” systems in 1961, and by 1965 the first primitive “starlight scopes” reached the field. As a passive sight with no need to use an infrared light source the enemy was unaware of U.S. troops presence until they were fired upon. No light source was needed, only the ambient light from the moon, stars or skyglow.
Development of the AN/PVS-2 started in 1964 and by 1967 these were reaching units in the field, and by 1969 they were very widely used in Vietnam. Improvements included elimination of “blooming” where a bright light would temporarily “white out” the scope. Battery life increased to about 100 hours. It could be mounted quickly on any standard M14 or M16 rifle with no modifications required.
This is a working example of the scope and includes the mount for teh M16 series of rifles.