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Strobe Lights - SDU-5/E and MS-2000 & Flashguards


RWW
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There are several threads that touch on strobes, but nothing about them.  I will start and I hope many others of you can fill in the holes and we will have a good reference on them.  Anyone with additional photos, or better photos, please post what you have! Lets make this a good reference thread.

 

The SDU-5/E came along in the early to mid 1960's and was replaced by the MS-2000 in the mid to late 1990's.  The early 5/E's had an orange plastic rim just under the lens that was replaced by a black rim sometime after 1973.  They were made by several manufacturers, ACR Electronics, Neo Flasher, Fed(eration) of Handicapped, and Elko that I am aware of. If you have lights with other manufacturers, please post pictures or the manufacturers name.  Regardless of its age, a strobe was considered serviceable as long as it passed a "Flash Rate Test".  The FG-1B Flash Guard was used during the Vietnam era and into the 1980's until it was replaced by the FG-1C.  Flash Guards were authorized:

1442105061_DSCN3300(2).JPG.4a122c135be265bb2aac32227cfe118d.JPG

The FG-1B had an oval end with a piece of black felt held inside by a piece of double sided tape. The other end had a piece of flexible blue plastic material that produced a blue light so it was distinguishable for muzzle flashes at night. The FG-1C had the same blue plastic. This flash guard slipped over the lens and stopped at the rim.  As a result of this design, light leaks around the flash guard were common and a black strip of paint was applied to the strobe to minimize the effect of this.  The later FG-1C fit lower onto the case of the strobe and snapped over the rim of the light making a better seal. (You will see a wide variety of paint widths on the strobes.)

 

  TO 14S1-2-2 states:

135168560_DSCN3299(2).JPG.d4ba76c8fd6ca20b1357b2a1c277ea81.JPG

During the 1980's when night vision devices became widely used an infrared dome shaped filter was designed to snap on over the  lens of the light to block all but the infrared light which is visible to NVG's. An optional elastic light shielding boot was authorized.

1498499336_DSCN3302(2).JPG.177c8f9e91cfe280d068fe33ac206fc3.JPG

1973 dated SDU-5/E with orange rim and 1987 strobe with black rim - the plastic "protective cap" was used to prevent inadvertent activation when the light was not packed with the flash guard. 

If anyone has a strobe with an orange rim later than 1973, please post a picture or the date of the contract.

1.JPG.6abaa086f4dff9fa2917f17977512537.JPG

FG-1B and FG-1C Flash Guards - Note difference in the area that fits over the lens of the light. You can just see the blue plastic sticking out of the FG-1C. The plastic was pushed out when the strobe was stored inside the flash guard and pushed over the lens when it was put on for use.

2.JPG.c03afc44051fabc1f19f700d5443c6cc.JPG

Markings on Flash Guards

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Flash Guards Installed on lights.  FG-1B on 1967 contract dated light on top, strobe showing painted area to reduce light leakage and FG-1C on 1987 contract dated light on the bottom.

4.JPG.0ffd27c4314e50e64fec4106bd451785.JPG

Infrared Flash Guard installed on strobe - top and bottom views of the filter are above the light

7.JPG.18652d891b4f54a129d1bb87c35a089b.JPG

Strobe with FG-1C and Infrared Filters as it would be stowed in a vest

8.JPG.2b9115884c3ee37fde3491e6bcdc1974.JPG

The early batteries had an orange plastic cap that was replaced by a brass cap.  There was a battery adaptor that allowed the strobe to be used with CR-123 batteries. 

1970, 1981, and 1995 dated battery

1268325794_11-1.JPG.553c0cd30bf9a69428173fcfec07b754.JPG

1172862989_11-2.JPG.c81952b3749e0988189f0e6ec22482c5.JPG

In the early to mid 1960's there were at least two contracts for SDU-5/E's that were USAF marked rather than the more common US marking. Note the foil label.  Anyone with more information on other contract's or manufacturers with foil labels, please post what you have! Also note the Air Force unique contract number of the foil label.

455884494_5-0.JPG.1970e33ca6a43dbe50b0d10f8e9c1e7d.JPG

USAF marking

1074570143_5-1.JPG.6e950372f1a8adb8877e29242a8a8f2a.JPG

There was also an SDU-5/E that was Navy marked.  I copied the following photo from a post on the lights by forum member "Andrei".  Other than the prefix, the NSN is the same for this strobe as the US and USAF marked ones. The manufacturer for this light is The Matrix Corp. If you have any other strobes made by Matrix, please post pictures!

105740280_6NavyStrobe-Andrei.jpg.aafbf960fff039ecc6ecf43027393fac.jpg

The Navy added webbing to later strobes to make them easier to get out of the survival vest and also glued a piece of hook fastener tape onto the back of the light so it could be attached to a corresponding piece of pile fastener tape glued to the flight helmet.  This was done for obvious reasons, to keep the strobe on the highest part of the body out of the water without having to hold the arm extended.

9.JPG.842f225cdc80d6a25b46752eec4553d2.JPG

Hook fastener

10.JPG.c881379e11c92c0b2029e057c1f4dbef.JPG

 

The MS-2000 came along in the mid to late 1990's and was adopted by all branches of the Military.  There were several reasons for this.  The SDU-5/E's used a special mercury battery that were expensive and not environmentally friendly. There were two different flash guards to keep up with as well.  The MS-2000 has both a blue and infrared flash guard built into the light and used 2 AA off the shelf items.  The military has made an effort to use "Commercial Off The Shelf" or COTS batteries and items as a way to reduce costs and increase availability for rapid deployments.  Batteries have a shelf life regardless if they are ever used or not. Keeping an adequate supply  to meet deployment needs was costly and took up storage space.  Being able to run down to any store that sells AA batteries and would take a Government Credit Card made procurement and keeping "fresh" batteries much easier.  

 

The MS-2000 has a magnetic slide switch that tended to get turned on when stored in survival vests.  As a result of this, a metal safety clip was retrofitted to the early issues of the light to prevent this.  This clip is standard on all current contracts. To activate the light, the clip is flipped back allowing the switch to be slid upward. The original lights were made by ACR Electronics and shortly after were made by FEDCAP Rehab Services, likely under the auspices of ACR.

 

1995 dated ACR MS-2000, 2000 contract dated FEDCAP, Navy rigged light - note absence of safety clip, Navy rigged light with safety clip. (Silver wire piece around the switch.)

12.JPG.62ffe7f033e50ad097fff11788d13a8f.JPG

MS-2000 with infrared flash guard in place, infrared flash guard retracted for white light, blue flash guard extended for use - note hook fastener on Navy rigged strobes

13.JPG.b846a60ef32d6efa2d400b0acf2fd8c2.JPG

 

 

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mohawkALSE

Excellent info!   Ill have to look at what I have and see if anything might be worth posting here.  I was always wondering what the black paint stripe was for, and that info answered that.  I need to find a nam era FG-1B and then a 80s contract FG-1C.   Earliest SDU-5E I have is a 1970 contract.

 

Note on the MS-2000M strobes, that safety clip came into effect on the 05 contract models and on.   That 95 dated one is cool, 99 contract marked had been the earliest I had seen personally.   There is another model of these lights with a different part number that not only is a strobe but also works as a flashlight if I recall correct, Id have to look it up again.

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The early Matrix SDU-5Es had a battery produced by the Matrix Co. Numerous prominent serrations on the cap. Matrix also produced the 761-A light, 1964 contract dates if memory serves.

895C5226-B5C9-4327-9667-4C2B4F857EB8.jpeg

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The earliest strobe pouches seem to not have the two brass eyelets for a lanyard. I’m not sure when the eyelets were first seen.

ED8C9712-B090-46F5-97CA-65700B923595.jpeg

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16 hours ago, RWW said:

There are several threads that touch on strobes, but nothing about them.  I will start and I hope many others of you can fill in the holes and we will have a good reference on them.  Anyone with additional photos, or better photos, please post what you have! Lets make this a good reference thread.

 

The SDU-5/E came along in the early to mid 1960's and was replaced by the MS-2000 in the mid to late 1990's.  The early 5/E's had an orange plastic rim just under the lens that was replaced by a black rim sometime after 1973.  They were made by several manufacturers, ACR Electronics, Neo Flasher, Fed(eration) of Handicapped, and Elko that I am aware of. If you have lights with other manufacturers, please post pictures or the manufacturers name.  Regardless of its age, a strobe was considered serviceable as long as it passed a "Flash Rate Test".  The FG-1B Flash Guard was used during the Vietnam era and into the 1980's until it was replaced by the FG-1C.  Flash Guards were authorized:

1442105061_DSCN3300(2).JPG.4a122c135be265bb2aac32227cfe118d.JPG

The FG-1B had an oval end with a piece of black felt held inside by a piece of double sided tape. The other end had a piece of flexible blue plastic material that produced a blue light so it was distinguishable for muzzle flashes at night. The FG-1C had the same blue plastic. This flash guard slipped over the lens and stopped at the rim.  As a result of this design, light leaks around the flash guard were common and a black strip of paint was applied to the strobe to minimize the effect of this.  The later FG-1C fit lower onto the case of the strobe and snapped over the rim of the light making a better seal. (You will see a wide variety of paint widths on the strobes.)

 

  TO 14S1-2-2 states:

135168560_DSCN3299(2).JPG.d4ba76c8fd6ca20b1357b2a1c277ea81.JPG

During the 1980's when night vision devices became widely used an infrared dome shaped filter was designed to snap on over the  lens of the light to block all but the infrared light which is visible to NVG's. An optional elastic light shielding boot was authorized.

1498499336_DSCN3302(2).JPG.177c8f9e91cfe280d068fe33ac206fc3.JPG

1973 dated SDU-5/E with orange rim and 1987 strobe with black rim - the plastic "protective cap" was used to prevent inadvertent activation when the light was not packed with the flash guard. 

If anyone has a strobe with an orange rim later than 1973, please post a picture or the date of the contract.

1.JPG.6abaa086f4dff9fa2917f17977512537.JPG

FG-1B and FG-1C Flash Guards - Note difference in the area that fits over the lens of the light. You can just see the blue plastic sticking out of the FG-1C. The plastic was pushed out when the strobe was stored inside the flash guard and pushed over the lens when it was put on for use.

2.JPG.c03afc44051fabc1f19f700d5443c6cc.JPG

Markings on Flash Guards

3.JPG.615f1f983b518294271064657a0a205b.JPG

Flash Guards Installed on lights.  FG-1B on 1967 contract dated light on top, strobe showing painted area to reduce light leakage and FG-1C on 1987 contract dated light on the bottom.

4.JPG.0ffd27c4314e50e64fec4106bd451785.JPG

Infrared Flash Guard installed on strobe - top and bottom views of the filter are above the light

7.JPG.18652d891b4f54a129d1bb87c35a089b.JPG

Strobe with FG-1C and Infrared Filters as it would be stowed in a vest

8.JPG.2b9115884c3ee37fde3491e6bcdc1974.JPG

The early batteries had an orange plastic cap that was replaced by a brass cap.  There was a battery adaptor that allowed the strobe to be used with CR-123 batteries. 

1970, 1981, and 1995 dated battery

1268325794_11-1.JPG.553c0cd30bf9a69428173fcfec07b754.JPG

1172862989_11-2.JPG.c81952b3749e0988189f0e6ec22482c5.JPG

In the early to mid 1960's there were at least two contracts for SDU-5/E's that were USAF marked rather than the more common US marking. Note the foil label.  Anyone with more information on other contract's or manufacturers with foil labels, please post what you have! Also note the Air Force unique contract number of the foil label.

455884494_5-0.JPG.1970e33ca6a43dbe50b0d10f8e9c1e7d.JPG

USAF marking

1074570143_5-1.JPG.6e950372f1a8adb8877e29242a8a8f2a.JPG

There was also an SDU-5/E that was Navy marked.  I copied the following photo from a post on the lights by forum member "Andrei".  Other than the prefix, the NSN is the same for this strobe as the US and USAF marked ones. The manufacturer for this light is The Matrix Corp. If you have any other strobes made by Matrix, please post pictures!

105740280_6NavyStrobe-Andrei.jpg.aafbf960fff039ecc6ecf43027393fac.jpg

The Navy added webbing to later strobes to make them easier to get out of the survival vest and also glued a piece of hook fastener tape onto the back of the light so it could be attached to a corresponding piece of pile fastener tape glued to the flight helmet.  This was done for obvious reasons, to keep the strobe on the highest part of the body out of the water without having to hold the arm extended.

9.JPG.842f225cdc80d6a25b46752eec4553d2.JPG

Hook fastener

10.JPG.c881379e11c92c0b2029e057c1f4dbef.JPG

 

The MS-2000 came along in the mid to late 1990's and was adopted by all branches of the Military.  There were several reasons for this.  The SDU-5/E's used a special mercury battery that were expensive and not environmentally friendly. There were two different flash guards to keep up with as well.  The MS-2000 has both a blue and infrared flash guard built into the light and used 2 AA off the shelf items.  The military has made an effort to use "Commercial Off The Shelf" or COTS batteries and items as a way to reduce costs and increase availability for rapid deployments.  Batteries have a shelf life regardless if they are ever used or not. Keeping an adequate supply  to meet deployment needs was costly and took up storage space.  Being able to run down to any store that sells AA batteries and would take a Government Credit Card made procurement and keeping "fresh" batteries much easier.  

 

The MS-2000 has a magnetic slide switch that tended to get turned on when stored in survival vests.  As a result of this, a metal safety clip was retrofitted to the early issues of the light to prevent this.  This clip is standard on all current contracts. To activate the light, the clip is flipped back allowing the switch to be slid upward. The original lights were made by ACR Electronics and shortly after were made by FEDCAP Rehab Services, likely under the auspices of ACR.

 

1995 dated ACR MS-2000, 2000 contract dated FEDCAP, Navy rigged light - note absence of safety clip, Navy rigged light with safety clip. (Silver wire piece around the switch.)

12.JPG.62ffe7f033e50ad097fff11788d13a8f.JPG

MS-2000 with infrared flash guard in place, infrared flash guard retracted for white light, blue flash guard extended for use - note hook fastener on Navy rigged strobes

13.JPG.b846a60ef32d6efa2d400b0acf2fd8c2.JPG

 

 

Applied Sciences Corp., Falls Creek VA made them in the 60’s as well

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mohawkALSE
1 hour ago, Jpage said:

Does anyone know if such an IR filter would be appropriate for a 1967-era SV-2 ? 

885A0731-482E-4A47-8D83-8F9236E428AC.jpeg

Not sure on that answer,  but is that one of the filters that came with the SRU-31 kits? and possibly SEEK-2?

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Jpage, No, I do not believe those would be appropriate for a 1967 dated SV-2.  I believe the rubber boot with the blue and IR lenses was a late '70's at best to an early 1980's item.  Below is a picture from a "Survival Kit, Individual Airman's. 24 Hours. SRU-31/P with an assembly date of 3/72.  This is the teal green colored SRU-31 that followed the SEEK-2 Kit's.  It has flash guards that are a vinyl "slip over the strobe" thing. The 74 contract kits have the same thing.  Below that is an 1982 dated "Survival Kit, Individual Airman's" (SRU-31) that has the rubber boot.  This is the earliest General Kit I have, so I am not sure when they first came out.

1362445325_72Packet2General7.JPG.7b10617ceaadb322a0ad847e161aaa4d.JPG

1982 dated "Survival Kit, Individual Airman's" (SRU-31)

2.jpg.c4561fe98ad59e6b1a85ca38b7cc0e21.jpg

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I should have added that both the 1967 and 1968 SEEK 2 kits had a square of red and another of blue plastic material with a couple of twist ties in them that fit over the lens of the strobe.  These would be a more accurate for a 1967 SV-2.

10072533_68-11(2).JPG.df8c6383fffba51c384a63af439e9024.JPG

 

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Thanks for the information! 

 

Speaking of SEEK 2s, I wish someone had a spare SEEK 2 kit , I have a complete SEEK 1

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I also own a SDU-5E IR filter with a peculiar clear plastic window, that is concealed with a IR plastic film. I’m not sure if the filter was designed to be used in both spectrums, I think this predates the IR filters more commonly seen ?

0BF9FC32-FF51-48BF-A2ED-CDAB4740947A.jpeg

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More USGI strobe goodness ! A Matrix 761-A (SDU-30), circa 1964. Matrix made the first SDU-5Es a few years later, with the same Naval Aviator wings.

 

Pic number two is a mystery. OD green, using the same layout and switch of the 5E, but powered by AA batteries, and not waterproof. No markings, Your guess is as good as mine.

A9F3D69B-6E7D-4549-AF8B-2ED45E5BDB91.jpeg

A8F2FD32-A0BA-406A-A71F-E55AA84C196E.jpeg

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Your IR Filter fits the description in the TO.  It could very likely be one of the original versions.  Below are a couple of excerpts from the page shown at the top of this post. 

 

Notice the illustration shows only a small area at the top center as the filter area.

1648395653_DSCN3303(2).JPG.67532cc7abd3a6b272f0a0d957ebadaa.JPG

 

This description seems to fit what you have.  

1905675500_DSCN3306(2).JPG.39475816e2aa579b5ad420f5ff9caad5.JPG

 

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13 minutes ago, mohawkALSE said:

That green mystery stobe is pretty interesting, never saw one before.

No markings at all, may not be USGI.

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mohawkALSE

Was going through some stuff and found my 1970 contract SDU-5.  Never noticed the same color lens rim on those vs the later black.  I like the old school foil labels on these.  Still need to find a era correct battery and the FG1B guard.

70 SDU-5E.jpg

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This one isn’t USGI, but it does use the lens, switch and battery of the SDU-5E. Designated the TB4D, it was commercially produced by ACR in the late 60’s, and contained a 121.5 mhz beacon.

E6EF10F1-D88B-493F-9ABA-C73E5585BDF9.jpeg

CFC5C04D-BFEE-4700-AA02-7120852FB4FB.jpeg

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Thanks for posting the picture! Your strobe has a 1967 contract date and the case is early 1967 at the latest.  USAF Drawing 64D2095 was changed 10 July 1967 at add the two grommets on the front of the case.

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