- The US Army recently released video of the battlefield seen through its new night vision goggles.
- The ENVG-B lets soldiers see in the dark and connects with other systems for better shooting.
- The next step for Army night vision technology is the futuristic IVAS heads-up display.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The US Army recently released video of what the battlefield can look like through the lenses of its new night vision goggles, and it is absolutely wild.
Soldiers assigned to 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division conducted a platoon live-fire exercise on April 19 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington wearing the relatively new Enhanced Night Vision Goggles-Binocular.
-Lancer Brigade (@lancer_brigade) April 22, 2021
The Army first started fielding the ENVG-B as a replacement for the older monocular PVS-14 night vision devices in fall 2019 at Fort Riley in Kansas.
The view mode seen in the above video, which Task & Purpose first reported, is “Outline Mode Fused + AR/RTA,” AR standing for “augmented reality” and RTA standing for “rapid target acquisition,” Capt. Daniel Matthews, a spokesman for 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, told Insider.
The outline view is one of several settings available to ENVG-B users. An Army video from last fall, for instance, showed the goggles lighting up the night as if it were the middle of the day.
The ENVG-B offers a larger field of view than traditional monocular goggles, moves away from the classic green glare, and lets troops more easily see in the dark and through common battlefield obscurants like dust, fog, and smoke.
The new goggles can also connect wirelessly to a soldier’s rifle through the Family of Weapon Sights-Individual for more accurate shooting and rapid target acquisition.
With a picture-in-picture setup, soldiers can simultaneously see what is in front of them and wherever their weapon is aiming. Not only can they shoot more effectively in general, but they can also shoot accurately from the hip or around corners.
The Army has also experimented with connecting unmanned assets, like its pocket-sized Black Hornet drones, with the ENVG-B so that the soldier can see what the drone sees in the display for significantly improved situational awareness.
Capt. Will Hess, commander of C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, said after a 2020 evaluation of the ENVG-B system that “in terms of target detection and clarity, the difference between the ENVG-B and the PVS-14 is night and day.”
He revealed that “the guys wearing the ENVG-Bs were taking targets out to 300 meters and even beyond, whereas our guys with 14s are having trouble seeing beyond 150.”
“I can’t say enough about the ENVG-Bs,” Hess added. “There’s really no comparison.”
The next step for Army night vision technology is the Integrated Augmented Reality System, an augmented-reality system which has been in development for a little over two years.
The futuristic IVAS goggles feature digital thermal, night vision, and low-light sensors with a 180-degree field of view. When the sensors are turned off using controls on the soldier’s weapon, the soldier can see through the goggles without needing to move them out of the way, a problem with more traditional designs.
The IVAS headsets also give soldiers access to a wide range of digital tools, from mapping to tracking friendly and enemy forces on the battlefield.
The Army has said that it plans to start fielding its new IVAS goggles later this year.