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SOF Week: How augmented reality is reshaping night vision capabilities

8th May 2023 - 13:38 GMT | by Flavia Camargos Pereira in Tampa


The US Marine Corps' Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle features AR capabilities. (Photo: Elbit Systems of America)

Augmented Reality (AR) can improve the situational awareness of soldiers and enhance protection by enabling faster target location and identification.

The need to provide advanced solutions for dismounted soldiers has been pushing industry towards adding new capabilities to night vision optronics, with augmented reality (AR) playing a major role.

AR can improve the situational awareness of soldiers and enhance protection by enabling faster target location and identification.

John Ennis, regional account manager for Elbit America Night Vision, explained that this type of technology is reshaping requirements for night vision goggles (NVG) in addition to allowing for ‘a lot of huge improvements’ in this domain and driving market trends.

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‘Historically, 20 years ago, a single monocular night vision device was state of the art. Now everybody is going to do binoculars, improving the performance of the image intensifiers. Then you are also doing an overlay with AR capability’, Ennis explained.

In terms of improvements, AR can provide Blue Force tracking and mapping, allowing for better awareness of the battlefield and the location of the enemy.

‘If you are going on your course and see what appears to be an adversary, you can mark it and broadcast that out to your team. That type of functionality is going to be very useful,’ Ennis pointed out.

At the SOF Week exhibition in Tampa, Elbit is showcasing AR-capable solutions such as the US Army Enhanced Night Vision Goggle–Binocular (ENVG-B) and the USMC's Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle (SBNVG).

The ENVG-B enables the use of AR through the army's Nett Warrior (NW) platform and has capabilities for passive target detection through wireless transmission from the weapon sight.

It offers improved depth perception and rapid target acquisition, enabling the engagement of soldiers in close combat, combat support and combat service support operations.

ENVG-B also allows the deployment of dismounted troops in day and night conditions, including low-, high- and no-light scenarios as well as in environments with obscurants, fog, smoke and in extreme weather.

US Army Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular. (Photo: Elbit Systems of America)

This helmet-mounted individual night vision device has an integrated longwave infrared (LWIR) thermal sensor and white phosphor dual I2 tubes.

It is interoperable with the Family of Weapon Sights-Individual (FWS-I) for rapid target acquisition (RTA) that provides soldiers with the ability to accurately engage targets without shouldering the weapon and execute offset shooting.

The SBNVG, meanwhile, is a helmet-mounted system that provides night-time viewing in various environments and conditions, improving warfighter situational awareness and performance.

This lightweight device features high-performing white phosphor image intensification tubes for enhanced clarity and depth perception and a longer-life battery.

It also enables the detection of targets in extreme darkness or through battlefield obscurants in addition to operating in vehicles at night and moving through dark buildings or tunnels.

It also features the Enhanced Clip-on Thermal – Imager (ECOT-I) with an external battery pack and power with the potential for future upgrades.

Flavia Camargos Pereira


Flavia Camargos Pereira

Flavia Camargos Pereira is a North America editor at Shephard Media. She joined the company …

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