Part of the United State’s global military dominance over the last century has come from our superior technology. Night vision was a huge advancement, and that technology has just taken a huge leap forward. The military is testing a new optic that will allow soldiers to see around corners.
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Even better, the new wearable optic works in conjunction with the integrated rifle sight. Soldiers now have a heads-up-display of sorts that shows where their gun is aimed. No more looking through a scope. You don’t even have to shoulder the rifle.
The system is built off paired cameras that give those wearing the system superhuman abilities. Soldiers and marines can look through smoke and fog, too, with the thermal capabilities.
“Researchers with the Army’s Program Executive Officer Soldier Maneuver Sensors have paired a next-generation night vision monocle, the ENVG-III, with the Family of Weapon Sights-Individual, or FWS-I to allow a shooter to view the battlefield through light-enhancing night vision and thermal vision,” Military Times reports.
The Army is slated to order 36,000 of the combined units, and an additional 28,000 units of the night vision monocle. The night vision should be in use with special operations forces within 2018, and they’re hoping to field the combined units by 2019.
The system pulls images from the monocle, and from a separate unit on the gun. With a picture-in-picture like feature, a soldier can point the gun around a corner without being exposed.
Another key feature of the design is its ability to negotiate bright flashes of light. While early night vision technology was a game-changer, light rendered the devices almost useless. Firing a gun while looking through the optics was also cumbersome, and any kind of muzzle flash would white out the screen.
This new system will withstand flashes of light. The two camera system also allows a solider to keep their eyes on a target and bring the rifle up to aim. That is far faster than having to spot a target through a scope.
This system is obviously advanced technology. It will require high processor speeds, and a wireless connection between the cameras. But the technology is finally available, and the testing of these units has begun.
Electronics engineer Dean M. Kissinger told Military Times, “The program is currently developing variants for crew-served weapons such as the M240 machine gun and for sniper rifle systems.”
They should work well on M16s, M4s, and M249 SAWs. And they aren’t cheap. “The average price for the ENVG-III is $7,000 while the FWS-I costs $9,500 each,” MT reports.