Army Developing Wireless Tech for Night Vision and Rifles

U.S. Army Cpl. Shaun Armstrong, of South Carolina, assigned to Focus Targeting Force, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, secures a landing zone during an air assault mission during Operation Champion Sword on Aug. 2, in the Khowst province, Afghanistan. Operation Champion Sword is a joint operation involving Afghan national security forces and International Security Assistance Forces and focused on specific militant targets and safe havens within Sabari and Terezai Districts of Khowst province in eastern Afghanistan.
The U.S. Army is working on technology to connect infrared images from a rifle’s scope and a soldier’s night vision goggles. The Enhanced Night Vision Goggle uses thermal energy to amplify heat signatures, which means threats and targets will be much more visible, even through impediments like smoke.

The ENVG program is linked to a rifle scope program which will allow the soldier using it to aim a weapon in complete darkness without bringing it to his or her eye. It also helps improve environment awareness with a wider field of vision.

Both BAE Systems and DRS Technologies will start producing this new tech later this summer, with an expected roll out of October next year. So far, the U.S. Army has purchased 9,000 of the ENVG-I and 16,000 of the ENVG-II, and is planning to buy another 41,000 units.

The ENVG-I and -II both allow soldiers to choose between regular night vision, thermal, and a hybrid that produces thermal images with an outline for better definition. The ENVG-III has all of those capabilities, along with a wider field of vision and sleeker packaging.

With the new ENVG tech, no matter which of the three systems is chosen, a solider has three choices, which he or she can switch between via a mounted remote:

• The rifle scope view is distinguished from the overall view by crosshairs and a circle.

• The rifle scope’s imagery in the corner, with the rest of the view provided by the ENVG.

• The ENVG image can be ignored and the rifle’s image can be directly relayed into the goggle.

When this technology is fully developed and in wide-spread use, it is expected to revolutionize the efficacy of soldiers and the U.S. military as a whole.

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