War, could amplify light several thousand times but were almost useless without some form of ambient light. This “Generation 1” equipment was also bulky and had a voracious appetite for batteries. Today’s “Generation 3” I2 devices— like the US Army’s helmet-mounted AN/ PVS-14 monocular night vision device— amplifies a wider spectrum of available light and even some infrared energy, thanks to advances
Unit location, video and images are currently shared over the network. In the future, soldiers could be fitted with physiological sensors that can detect dehydration, elevated blood pressure or cognitive delays from lack of sleep. That information would then be shared over the battlefield network where commanders could assess unit effectiveness and readiness in real time. Smart weapons will also be able to transmit information such as shots fired and remaining ammunition. NIGHT VISION EQUIPMENT The ability to see at night or in degraded visual conditions, such as fog or haze, is a huge tactical advantage on today’s battlefield, and at times can mean the difference between life and death. Soldiers equipped with night vision capabilities are able to see, and engage, the enemy far quicker than if they were relying on their naked eye. In addition, they can navigate obstacles and identify possible booby traps which are obscured under normal conditions. Night vision equipment is becoming cheaper and more available, potentially finding its way into the hands of terrorist groups like Islamic State or the Taliban. So, militaries are keen to procure newer and more capable night vision equipment to retain their technological edge. The US Army in particular - which Militaries currently use two types of night vision technology; the first is known as image intensification (I2), which amplifies existing light. The second is thermal vision, also known as infrared, which forms an image using infrared radiation. saw the massive benefits gained from using night vision gear in Iraq and Afghanistan - is investing in new technologies which will achieve this end.
in photocathode technology. Importantly, newer I2 devices can keep functioning for more than 20 hours on a single AA battery which has benefits for both logistics and soldier loads. The lightweight AN/PVS-14 - manufactured by ITT Exelis and L-3 Warrior Systems - remains one
of the most popular NVG devices in the world. In 2012, the UK placed a $33m contract with ITT Exelis to provide AN/PVS-14 equipment as part of British Army modernisation efforts. Elsewhere, Israeli company Elbit Systems introduced the ZACT-NV32 micro monocular I2 sight in 2012, which is thought to be the lightest product on the market at just 180 grams. I2 technology has several drawbacks, however, including its reliance on ambient light and being limited only to night operations. Thermal imaging - which creates a picture based on infrared radiation - offers a step up in capability and While the technology has been fitted to aircraft and vehicles for several decades, IR systems for the dismounted soldier were rare up until the late ‘90s. They were often too cumbersome and costly to be viable for every frontline soldier, and so were often reserved for reconnaissance or special forces units. That has changed over recent years with thermal sights now becoming a regular addition to the soldier’s loadout.
can “see through” adverse weather or battlefield obscurants like smoke, even during the day. Because thermal sights are digital, it also opens up the possibility for video output across the network.
Traditional night vision goggles (NVGs) and night weapon sights use image intensification (I2). Early I2 devices, such as the US Army’s revolutionary AN/PVS-2 introduced during the Vietnam
Qwik Connect n January 2015
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