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Night Vision Devices integrated with cellphones and Google Glass like wearables will provide future Soldiers greater situational awareness

Night vision devices are becoming essential equipment for night driving, night flying and night surveillance, wildlife observation and search and rescue missions. According to Industry ARC’s report on Night vision devices, the market is estimated to grow to $20.5 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 7%.


Since the inception of combat, darkness has limited the ability of soldiers to operate and complete missions, however  Night vision devices give armed forces a massive advantage over enemy combatants, allowing soldiers to conduct vital military operations in the dead of night, when the opposing force is at its most vulnerable.


Night Vision has become essential capability for ground forces in modern warfare as well as for counter terrorist operations. Infrared imaging enables the spotting of targets, intruders and hidden bombs by detecting their heat signatures thereby protecting troops and making the application of force more discriminating.


In Sep 2016, Special Forces of the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes against terror launchpads on and along the Line of Control. 100 soldiers of the Indian Army’s Northern Command sneaked across the Line of Control into Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Armed with thermobaric rockets, grenade launchers and rifles fitted with infrared imaging systems, they hit six terrorist launchpads simultaneously and made it back without losing lives. All of this was captured live on camera by drones.


Tonbo Imaging built the night vision system that guided the surgical strikes of Indian Army in 2016.  Its tech sits on seekers on the tips of precision missiles, lightweight thermal weapons and day-and-night scopes to track enemies.


Tonbo’s imaging sensors are the eyes of the soldiers, the artificial intelligence stack built into it is the brain that enables real-time decision-making and fire control. Infrared seekers guide weapons to lock on targets more than 1km away; smart cameras record the action and a secure, wireless communication system relays it back to base.


Night vision and vision enhancement systems have been used by U.S. and allied forces for decades. But while they provide troops with a critical tactical advantage in the dark, there are tradeoffs. Such systems can be heavy, awkward to use and generate monochrome imagery that makes it difficult for warfighters to detect enemy combatants under certain conditions. The performance of Night vision devices is constantly being improved while driving down the size, weight and power consumption in order to maintain an edge over adversaries.


Night Vision devices

There are two classes of Night vision, Night Vision Goggles (NVGs),  image intensification systems and thermal imaging systems.


Image intensification systems  take in small amounts of visible and near infrared light reflected from the targets, magnify it using high-resolution image intensifier tubes, and project that on a display.  In contrast, thermal imaging systems do not require any light as these systems detect near-IR and IR radiations that are emitted by objects in the surrounding. They convert these invisible radiations into the visible spectrum on display. While Image intensification systems require minute amounts of light to function either available naturally or through illumination,  thermal imagers work in complete darkness  as they detect using heat, rather than available light to find and locate targets. There are also systems which use combination of these.


Night Vision Goggles: Image Intensifier (II) tubes

For decades, the U.S. military relied on analog night vision goggles that use image intensification tubes to amplify existing light, allowing troops to see in practically pitch-black conditions. Image intensifiers,  intensify the light received by the sensor and cleaning up the picture to reveal more details than what would normally be seen by the human eye. The picture is reconstituted using colours from green to black, as the human eye is more sensitive to green than other colors. One drawback is that this is a low-light system and needs some reflected light to function.


Image intensification, the basis of night vision, is a complex conversion of energy particles that occurs within a vacuum tube. An image-intensifier system works by collecting photons through an objective lens, converting them to electrons via a photocathode, increasing the electrical energy with a microchannel plate (MCP), converting the electrical energy back to light using a phosphor screen and presenting the image for viewing through an eyepiece lens.


The main electron amplification occurs within the MCP, a thin disc that contains millions of closely spaced channels. As the electrons pass through the channels and strike the channel walls, thousands of additional electrons are released. When these strike the phosphor screen, the increased energy is reconverted into light thousands of times brighter than that which entered. A sophisticated miniaturized power supply is used to provide the voltages between the elements of the vacuum tube that allow for the energy conversion and amplification. All of the elements within the vacuum tube are closely spaced to avoid electron scatter.


In the night-vision world, the word generation (Gen) refers to major advancements in technology. The higher the generation, the more sophisticated the night-vision technology. Developed in the late 1960s, Gen 2 technology brought a major breakthrough in night vision with the development of the microchannel plate. The building block of the II tube has a photocathode which converts the incoming light into photo-electrons, a Micro-Channel Plate (MCP) that multiplies the electrons, a phosphor screen which converts the electron into green light which is then displayed out of the output fibre optics.


The latest generation of II tubes is the 4th generation, with a GaAs photocathode with an automated gated power supply feature that reduces the duty cycle of the cathode voltage by rapidly switching the voltage on and off. Auto-Gating constantly operates to improve the quality of the image, not only during day-night-day transition, but also under dynamic lighting conditions such as military operations in urban terrain which define many of today’s missions. The Figure of Merit (FOM) is calculated as the product of the resolution and the signal-to-noise ratio and the military requirement is tubes with higher FOMs.


Image-intensifier technology has most widely been associated with use in night-vision goggles (NVGs). Another major technology, unrelated to image intensification, yet referred to as night vision, is that of thermal or IR imaging. Night vision goggles have the same drawbacks that daylight and lowlight TV cameras do: they need enough light, and enough contrast to create usable images. Thermal imagers, on the other hand, see clearly day and night, while creating their own contrast.


Night Vision Thermal IR cameras

In these systems a lens detects infrared energy emitted by the target, which is then converted into a picture, usually using blue to red colours to indicate hot and cold areas. The ability of these systems to work in no-light is essential, allowing users to find and locate targets in ‘total darkness’, but with the drawback of lower fidelity.


Thermal IR cameras detect tiny differences in Heat (also called infrared, or thermal, energy) – as small as 0.01°C – and display them as shades of grey in black and white TV video but usually with relatively low resolution.


Blended scopes require more power but offer the best of both worlds, giving users an intensified view of their surroundings which can be overlaid with an in-picture thermal view for greater fidelity and situational awareness. Qioptiq says it developed these systems to overcome the shortfalls of both systems and to maximise the advantages of each system.


“Our systems are used wherever dismounted users, law enforcement professionals or security services require an enhanced detect, recognise, identify, and engagement capability, 24 hours a day, in poor visibility, in total darkness or through battlefield and natural obscurants,” the company says.


Image intensification and thermal imaging each have comparative strengths and weaknesses. Thermal imagers are quite good at detecting heat sources in total darkness, such as body heat of personnel or engine heat; however, they do not have as high a resolution as do image intensifiers (at equivalent fields of view). Such is because thermal imagers provide an electronic output and the pixel size of the focal plane array (FPA) is much greater than the “effective” pixel size of the direct view optical output of the image intensifier tube.


Additionally, thermal imagers had for many years been impractical for user-mounted applications, like NVGs, because of their greater size, weight and power (SWaP) consumption. Advances in recent years with uncooled thermal imagers such as vanadium oxide and amorphous silicon, have greatly improved these features making them more suitable for head-mounted applications.


Sensor fusion

Sensor fusion combines the respective strengths of thermal and image-intensification technologies into one device. By combining the strengths of both technologies, users can view a much greater portion of the light spectrum – visible to near-IR to long-wave infrared. The ability to see information from both the visible and thermal spectrums through one device represents a significant advantage to military, security and law enforcement personnel.


Enhanced night-vision goggle (ENVG)

The desire to fuse these two technologies – and keep the overall SWaP consumption low so the device can be worn by a person – is leading to the development of new night-vision technologies and devices. The primary device is the enhanced night-vision goggle (ENVG) that combines a thermal imager with an image intensifier. In the ENVG, the image intensifier works like a standard NVG. However, the image from the thermal sensor is presented on a video display and then optically overlaid with the image-intensifier output. The future desire is to combine the video output of a thermal imager directly with the video output of an electronic output image intensifier. These new devices could then present a complete digitally fused image to a HMD in a device known as the digitally enhanced night-vision goggle (ENVG-D).


Leading the technology development in image intensifiers with direct video outputs are the MCPCMOS (microchannel plate complementary metal oxide semiconductor) and the EBAPS (electron bombarded active pixel sensor). Both devices combine a modified CMOS imager directly into the vacuum envelope of a proximity focused image tube. The CMOS imager replaces the phosphor screen and provides a direct video output which can be presented to a head or helmet-mounted display. The primary difference is that the EBAPS does not contain a microchannel plate thus limiting its luminous gain capability.


Additionally by having an electronic output, the image can be digitally enhanced as well as digitally combined with the electronic output of a thermal imager. Having the images in a completely electronic format will allow users to transmit images to a command center for information verification or general intelligence gathering and observation.


Enhanced night-vision goggle (ENVG) systems

Harris’s AN/PSQ-20 SENVG & L3’s ENVG-B are one of systems  that provide Integrated image intensified and infrared imaging. A refined version of Harris’s originally designed AN/PSQ-20 ENVG, the SENVG can be quickly mounted to or removed from an advanced combat helmet. For this reason, it comes with a separate battery pack for helmet-mounted and hand-held use. Advantages of the SENVG over the ENVG is greater situational awareness due to improved threat detection technology, compatibility with existing weapon systems, expanded viewing capabilities, and a colour microdisplay.


Another company developing  ENVG concept is L-3,  L3’s ENVG-B uses white phosphor I2 technology in a dual-tube goggle, which helps improve target location, threat engagement, and access to imagery of the common operating environment. The ENVG-B has the benefit of a new high-resolution display and a wireless personal area network that works with the US Army’s Nett Warrior system to produce augmented reality algorithms to provide greater situational awareness. In essence, it is a hybrid system as it includes a separate thermal channel for image fusion and thermal target detection capabilities. L3Harris received an initial multi-million dollar Other Transaction Authority (OTA) award from the US Army for the ENVG-B Program of Record, which has a total value of $442 million. L3Harris is one of two companies to receive initial funding under this OTA.


Qioptiq’s range of soldier based optics varies in scale, from uncooled in-line sights to long-range cooled optics capable of supporting marksman missions using a blend of image intensifiers and in-picture thermal optics. These tools allow operators to seamlessly transition and continue operations from day to night. The optics focus in the close range below 5km. They are far less powerful than their mounted equivalents but vital nonetheless for ground forces’ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.


At the top end of the range is the Dragon-S, an uncooled thermal imager capable of detecting a human-sized target at around 3km distance. Qioptiq’s UK sales and marketing manager David Lever explained the inner workings of the scope including a hot-swappable battery system allowing an operator to constantly keep eyes on their targets. The in-line sight is billed by Qioptiq as providing snipers with ’24 hour surveillance and target capability’, all powered by four AA batteries.

On the lower end of the scale sits the company’s Kite image intensified weapons scope, which is available as a stand-alone scope or an inline optic to maintain accuracy during the day. The mounted sight is already in use across NATO and other countries, and in peak conditions allows users to detect a person at up to 2.5km distance. The Maxkite-1 version, meanwhile, is capable of detecting targets at up to 4.5km.

Other soldier systems include helmet-mounted night-vision binoculars and handheld surveillance tools designed to give a marksman’s spotter the same capabilities as they have on their scope. The Phoenix-H handheld thermal imaging unit has a detection range of about 11km for a vehicle and 6km for a human target.

This system can also connect to the company’s Phoenix sight allowing the transfer of marked targets from the handheld spotting unit to the marksman site directly.

U.S. Army’s new Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III (ENVG III) for Rapid Target Acquisition

Currently, U.S. troops use two different devices — night vision goggles for situational awareness and a weapon-mounted thermal sight for targeting. These existing tools require a soldier to identify and acquire the target through the goggle system and then raise the weapon sight into his field of view to engage. On today’s battlefield, this slower approach, which is often further hampered by heavy smoke or bad weather, compromises soldiers’ safety and can reduce mission effectiveness.

The Army has unveiled groundbreaking futuristic technology that is designed to replace current night vision goggles. The Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III and Family of Weapon Sight-Individual uses thermal technology to see through smoke and darkness, allow soldiers to shoot around corners, and connect wirelessly to the soldier’s scope on their weapons.


Night vision directorate in concert with industry partners, BAE Systems and DRS Technologies have developed Rapid target acquisition that allow wireless linking of weapon sights to the head-worn displays integrating night vision and thermal targeting capabilities into one sight displayed on the soldiers’ goggles. The U.S. Army’s new Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III (ENVG III), which is worn on the helmet like traditional devices, works in tandem with the Family of Weapon Sights — Individual (FWS-I), which can be hooked up to a variety of weapons.

Unlike today’s night-vision goggles, a monocle-like device that shows a fuzzy green picture at night, the new goggles are designed like binoculars and are wirelessly linked to the sight on a soldier’s weapon. These goggles identify heat sources through thermal technology, revealing the shapes of enemy fighters hiding in foliage or obscured by smoke. Current night-vision goggles operate by expanding ambient light from the stars or moon so soldiers can see shapes at night.


The integrated technology enables soldiers in dark lighting conditions to quickly and quietly target enemies, using 12-micron thermal technology to produce sharp thermal images. ‘It is no longer just a night vision device,’ said Army Col. Christopher Schneider, the project manager, to USA Today. ‘The enemy can’t see we’re targeting him until we pull the trigger.’ That ability will be especially useful in densely populated cities, where officers expect to fight the next war. “We won’t be able to avoid the dense urban terrain or the megacities in the future,” said Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, deputy commanding general of the Army’s combined arms center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.


Objects can be clearly seen more than 1,000 meters away – beyond the distance of a carbine’s effective range, but good for use on more powerful rifles. “The sight was developed to see beyond the carbine’s effective range so it could be used with the M249 squad automatic weapon and other longer range weapons,” said Army Lt. Col. Timothy Fuller, Program Manager for Soldier Maneuver Sensors.


The difference comes when the weapon sight wirelessly transmits a video signal of where it is aimed, directly to the goggle, a soldier can accurately fire their weapon without having to bring the weapon sight to the eye to aim.  “Not having to shoulder the weapon and reacquire the target with a different sensor significantly reduces engagement time and provides soldiers with yet another advantage on the battlefield,” according to Army Col. Michael E. Sloane, Project Manager for Soldier Sensors and Lasers. This capability also is expected to enable soldiers to shoot their rifles accurately over walls, around corners, and using other kinds of cover in difficult conditions such as urban warfare.


The ENVG III/FWS-I is lighter and smaller than previous models. BAE has also optimised the system for low power consumption, and the picture-in-picture and scope-only functions offer a wider range of ways to engage targets.


“When fully integrated with the FWS-I weapon sight, the combined solution provides superior imagery and a target acquisition capability that can greatly increase mission success and survivability,” said BAE Systems precision guidance and sensing solutions director Marc Casseres.


Future night vision device technology would allow shooting video and transmitting it live, which shall extend the scope in military application through which commander can play a vital role in guiding the soldiers. This will also enable soldiers to access features such as maps, messages, locations, footage from drones and many more.


US Army’s  Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular (ENVG-B),  make Soldiers Become Another Node In DoD’s Internet Of Things

The U.S. Army is in the process of fielding a new, advanced set of night vision goggles fuses together the view from an image intensifier, just like you would get with older night vision optics, and one from a thermal sensor. Also seen right in the center of the view is another key feature of the ENVG-B, the ability to wirelessly connect to other optics, in this case the FWS-I, and overlay that feed on top of everything else. This allows soldiers to take advantage of the magnification of those optics to more closely investigate targets and other objects of interest.


They can also fire on them, from the shoulder or the hip, as seen in the video, using that remote sight picture. That additional feed means that troops can point their weapons around corners to get a view of what might be around them without having to expose themselves to potential hostile fire.


“ENVG-B is a system of systems,” Lynn Bollengier of L3Harris Technologies said at this week’s annual Association of the US Army conference. These systems include integrated augmented reality aspects from the Nett Warrior tablet, as well as wireless interconnectivity with weapon sights. Combined, that means a soldier wearing the ENVG-B can look through their binoculars, turn on the camera in their rifle’s sight, and point that sight around a corner to see and shoot, without exposing anything more than their hands or the rifle. These kinds of technologies constitute “a defense Internet of Things,” said Vern Boyle, VP for advanced capabilities at Northrop Grumman.


One example of this on display at AUSA was a picture-in-picture display. While still allowing the soldier 40 degrees of horizontal and vertical visibility, the ENVG-B binoculars could incorporate a small, picture-in-picture image from a second source. This raises the possibility of linking the ENVG-Bs to other sensors and data feeds, including those from manned and unmanned fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, as well as manned and unmanned vehicles on the ground, among other sources.


One of the most obvious immediate uses of this capability would be to pipe the feed from a drone into the goggles to allow soldiers to more readily identify enemy forces and other possible hazards well ahead of their positions. This would give even small Army units significant advantages when maneuvering on the battlefield, making it easier to flank opponents, scout ahead, or simply avoid dangerous spots.


While originally designed for training, One World Terrain is designed to be a comprehensive 3D map of the entire world, shared in a common library that can be adapted to training or battlefield needs. But bringing the 3D model into combat will require some degree of forethought, given the limitations of transferring large file sizes at a moment’s notice. “There is no silver bullet” for transferring the 3D map files, said Ryan McAlinden, a technology advisor at Army Futures Command. Sometimes the network will have the capacity, other times getting the map might mean physically delivering a hard drive to the forward location and uploading it from there. That said, “compression has come a long way, and the maps can send over cellular networks.”


So long as the soldier in the field is capable of receiving data, there will be no shortage of ways to incorporate that information into how they fight. The primary challenge will be maintaining that connectivity and making sense of the information as it arrives.


The Army is already looking at helmet-mounted optics that will offer even greater functionality, including true augmented reality capabilities that could be valuable during combat, as well as training. The service, together with the Marine Corps, conducted a major test of one such system now in development, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS).


Pixel Network for Dynamic Visualization, or PIXNET

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) launched Pixel Network for Dynamic Visualization (PIXNET) program in 2012 with an aim  to provide individual soldiers and squads with increased situational awareness through an improved night and low-light vision system. The analog night vision goggles (NVG) used by our troops to identify adversaries are limited to a single band of light. As NVGs also become available to adversaries as a commercial off-the-shelf product, the advantage in low- and no-light operation conditions is diminished.


The PIXNET program aims to create a lightweight, affordable, image sensing system that fuses reflective and thermal bands in a single camera for greater situational awareness. The camera and weapon sight would fuse reflective light in the visible, near infrared, short-wave part of the spectrum, as well as thermal images from the mid-wave and long-wave portions into a single image, said Nibir Dhar, who managed the program for DARPA. PIXNET seeks to leverage the considerable computing capability of modern smartphones to process and fuse multicolor images from the camera. The image will transfer wirelessly for sharing with higher command authorities and other team members.


To achieve this, the program is setting out to develop very small multi-spectrum cameras that will clip onto helmets and weapons. Current multi-band cameras, which may be used in a variety of environmental conditions, are too large and expensive for individual warfighters to carry. Sensitive to a range of light spectrum bands, from visible, near infrared and infrared to thermal, the cameras will transmit data wirelessly to the soldier’s smartphone, which uses its processors to automatically fuse the data into a high-resolution color image. This capability, when combined with specifically designed software applications loaded onto soldiers’ smartphones, will allow warfighters to pick out targets in combat and other operational situations better, says PIXNET’s program manager, Dr. Nibir Dhar, who works in DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office.


Mixing and overlaying images in different wavelengths offers a number of advantages over single-wavelength devices. For example, Dhar notes that while thermal imagers can detect the temperature of the surface of a building’s windows, they can’t detect anything behind the glass. But shortwave infrared imagers can see through glass, he adds


SRI’s Night Vision Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (NV-CMOS®) imager will address PIXNET program goals in the reflective spectral bands—from visible to near infrared. The high-definition NV-CMOS chip replaces two separate sensors for day and night performance while minimizing size, weight, and power (SWaP). Additionally, it has a digital output ready for image enhancement, fusion, and networking.


The NV-CMOS sensor will complement Raytheon’s uncooled thermal detector for the fused situational-awareness camera. When combined, the imagers can provide superior vision capability to detect, recognize, and identify battlefield threats day and night in any weather conditions. “What we really need are breakthroughs in aperture design, focal plane arrays, electronics, packaging and materials science. Success will be measured as the minimization of size, weight, power and cost of the system and the maximization of functionality.”


Three companies are working with DARPA to develop cameras: Raytheon, DRS Technologies and UTC Aerospace Systems. Raytheon and UTC are developing the helmet-mounted versions, while DRS is working on the weapon-mounted camera. Of the three firms, Dhar notes that Raytheon is currently the furthest along in developing its camera.


DARPA’s Next Generation Tactical Wearable Night Vision calls for Augmented Reality glasses

DARPA has called for “Next Generation Tactical Wearable Night Vision” that should harness the Wearable computing technology with compact wearable heads-up displays (HUDs) and allow for sharing information for increased situational awareness (SA) with others in the squad or command centers.


The vision is similar to Google Glass, which combines wearable computing technology with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that displays information on a small prism display screen and allow Wearers to communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.


Some of the performance goals identified are visual clarity of Snellen, 20/20 at clear starlight to direct day sun; high-brightness, see-through augmented reality (AR) heads-up displays (HUDs); 90-degree vertical and 120-degree horizontal field of view (FOV); day, night and obscured condition visualization; high image frame rate for effective soldier mobility; must be able to instantly switch from daylight to infrared; (SWaP), size, weight better than commercial sunglasses; power greater than 24 hours run time on one charge and cost of less than $5000 in volume of 1000 or more.


Some of the hardware and integration technologies are low-noise, small-format broad-band uncooled infrared cameras; full spectrum of coverage across Visible-NIR-SWIR (400-1700nm); Low latency (photon into receipt by eye) of less than or equal to 2ms; Support interface with tactical computing elements and communication systems, to include the transmission of sound and video to other team members; 6 Axis Inertial Measurement Unit, Compass, GPS, handheld and weapons-mountable low-speckle SWIR illuminators and pointers.


This is a step towards reclaiming the traditional tactical advantage enjoyed by the US military that has been lost through the proliferation and commercialization of Night Vision technology, according to DARPA


Night Vision Market

The Global Night Vision Devices market is expected to reach $12.4 billion by 2026 from USD 4.66 billion in 2019 growing at a CAGR of 10.1% during 2019 to 2026. Factors such as growing popularity of the devices among nature enthusiasts, wildlife researchers, and technical feasibility of providing soldiers with night vision devices capable of producing color images. Though limited field of vision is restraining the market. Use of night vision devices for protection and surveillance applications has created growth opportunities for the night vision devices market.


The recent coronavirus outbreak has created a sense of panic across the world. The rapid spread of the disease has compelled governments across the world. To curb the spread of the disease, there have been strict lockdowns that are being imposed in several countries. Several efforts are being taken to make sure there are no public gatherings at any given time. It is observed that night vision devices are being integrated into drones to locate such gatherings during low light and night times. As a result, the global NVD market will derive significant growth from the increasing product demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Night vision device can be separated into three types namely night vision goggles, night vision cameras, and night vision scopes. Night vision devices are mainly used by military and law enforcement personals but also available for civilian applications. Based on type, the scope segment is anticipated to grow at the significant rate during the forecast period due to is chiefly used as weapon sights despite the fact that they are huge and heavier than goggles. Additionally, this product can be used for navigation and scouting purposes.


The key vendors mentioned are American Technologies Network Corp, Apresys International Inc, ASELSAN AS, BAE Systems PLC, Bushnell Inc, Elbit Systems Ltd, Firefield, Flir Systems Inc, L3Harris Communication, Luna Optics Inc, Opgal Optronic Industries Ltd, Raytheon Company, Thales Group SA, United Technologies Corp and Vista Outdoor Inc.


North America is expected to hold the largest market share in the night vision devices market driven by the United States, with the highest spending nation on its military and defense activities and by housing the key vendors in the market, including L3Harris Communication, Flir Systems Inc., American Technology Network Corp., and BAE Systems PLC, among others. Four US-based companies – BAE Systems, Leonardo DRS, L3 and Harris – are currently developing enhanced night vision goggles (ENVGs) under US Army contracts, while other firms are independently developing their own latest generation devices. As of 2019, the market in North America was worth USD 1.55 billion and this value is projected to increase further in the coming years.


The governments in the region are exploring the nighttime firefighting activities with improved technologies, such as night vision devices to enhance their nighttime aerial firefighting capabilities. Night vision technology enables the safe operation of aircraft at night. In July 2019, the Orange County Fire Authority teamed up with Coulson Aviation, by investing over USD 4 million to introduce firefighting helicopters to respond to call in California. These helicopters are equipped with night vision devices for pilots and have a capacity of 1,000 gallons of water.


In September 2019, US Marine Corps partnered with L3Harris Communication, for the upgradation of their helmet-mounted night vision system. The contract worth USD 249 million for five years, includes the purchase of Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle (SBNVG), which consists of a binocular image intensifier night vision goggle with a modular uncooled thermal imaging sensor, to give marines better depth perception during maneuvers.


In March 2020, MKU, an Indian defense company, announced to release its range of gen-3 night vision devices for police forces. These devices are developed on un-cooled micro bolometer technology and are expected to showcase in the International Police Expo, to be held in May 2020.


February 2020 – Thales Group announced to partner with MKU, an India-based defense company, to develop the ELFIE night vision device (NVD) for armed forces in India and the world. ELFIE is a lightweight monocular and has the most extensive field of view, providing better mobility and night combat capability. It is designed to use for left or right eye use and provides stereoscopic vision in a binocular configuration, especially for vehicle drivers, paratroopers, and special forces operators.


May 2019 – L3Harris Communication introduced its Ground Panoramic Night Vision Goggles (GPNVGs). The devices from the company are featured with four image intensification (I2) tubes and are enhanced with an integrated fused infrared (IR) overlay. It has capabilities of augmented reality (AR) and wireless connectivity.


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