Marines Fielding Night Vision Goggles
Advanced helmet-mounted binoculars give Marines better situational awareness in the dark.
U.S. Marines on the move need to be able to negotiate the battlefield effectively. Part of operating on the fly also means working in the dark. To aid warfighters, the Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) recently began fielding advanced binoculars to help with improved vision at night, according to a June 18 report from Kaitlin Kelly, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication.
The new helmet-mounted goggles, called the Binocular Night Vision Goggle II, or BNVG II, offer improved depth perception in the dark. The goggles include a binocular night vision device (BNVD) and a clip-on thermal imager, known as a COTI, that attaches to the BNVD with a bracket. The technology relies on white phosphor image intensification to amplify ambient light, with a modular thermal imaging overlay capability, Kelly explained. By amplifying a small amount of light—emitted by stars, moonglow or other sources—the device can clearly display objects in detail in “very dark” environments. “BNVG II helps Marines identify potential buried explosive devices, find hidden objects within foliated areas and safely conduct tasks that require depth perception,” she said.
Kelly mentioned that the BNVG II is an update to the legacy AN/PVS-15 binocular. “[It] offers more features— such as the COTI—for increased survivability,” she noted.
This spring, the Force Reconnaissance and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines were the first to try out the binoculars. The MCSC plans full operational capability to the rest of the service in the second quarter of fiscal 2019.
Several companies manufacture the components of the BNVG II, according to Barb Hamby, Marine Corps Systems Command Office of Public Affairs and Communication. Londonderry, New Hampshire-based L3 Insight Technology makes the BNVD, while Optics 1, of Bedford, New Hampshire, manufactures the COTI. Newington, New Hampshire-based Wilcox Industries fabricates the Dovetail mount, which is used to mount the BNVD (with attached COTI) to a Marine's helmet, Hamby explained.