Fusion Night Vision Goggles

Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) are game-changing tactical gear and in 2019 the prices are coming down and capabilities are better than ever.

But at the same time there is some really cool new high-end gear coming out.

Advanced Night Vision Goggles include low-profile night vision goggles and those that combine thermal imagery with light amplification – so called fused or fusion night vision goggles.

Let’s take a look at 2019’s most advanced night vision devices.

WARNING: These are expensive or hard to get or both, and these are all ITAR export restricted.

If you are looking for practical night vision recommendations, see this NVG article and our thermal vision.

Here’s the gear we’re going to review in this article.

EOTech ENVG Enhanced Night Vision Goggle This is the latest binocular fusion device. It's the latest generation of technology for fusion - combining IR and I2 in a light-weight, binocular form factor.

Steiner eOptics AN/PVS-21 Low Profile Night Vision Goggles The AN/PVS-21 bring high quality night vision capabilities to a light-weight, easy to wear package.

EOTech ENVG Enhanced Night Vision Goggle Big, bulky, and monocular only - this was previously the best model NVG with fused thermal imaging and image intensification I2.

Low Profile Night Vision Goggles – AN/PVS-21

Night Vision Goggles offer an extreme advantage for those that fight in the dark.

But they are also great for flying, driving, fixing, and anything else soldiers need to do in the field.

One of the downsides has been the sheer size and weight of these devices.

It can be difficult to maneuver in tight spaces – and it’s a pain in the neck – literally.

Between the helmet, battery pack, NVGs, and counter-weight – that’s a lot of weight to be on your head.

New low profile goggles such as the AN/PVS-21 Low Profile Night Vision Goggles from Steiner Defense look to change that.

AN/PVS-21 Low Profile NVG
AN/PVS-21 Low Profile Goggles – A compact package loaded with capability.

The manufacturer created these for aggressive special operations capability in air, water, and land environments.

For example, these are a lot less unwieldy in the cab of a truck or armored vehicle.

AN/PVS-21 Low Profile Night Vision Goggles - streamlined design makes them great for close quarters
The AN/PVS-21 Low Profile Night Vision Goggles are better for use in tight spaces – as you can see here.

It uses a patented low profile design.

It has 3-4 inches less protrusion than conventional night vision goggles.

It also has advanced capabilities.

It supports Rapid Target Acquisition through pairing with compatible weapon sights.

Rapid Target Acquisition capability - this device can be paired with compatible weapon sights to "see around corners".
Rapid Target Acquisition capability – this device can be paired with compatible weapon sights to “see around corners”.

Here’s a video:

It can also fuse thermal IR with I2 light amplification.

Let’s deep dive on that capability next.

Fused Night Vision Googles

Being able to “fuse” thermal imagery with image intensification (also called I2 or I2) imagery isn’t anything new.

The U.S. Army has had devices in use since 2013 that could do that.

But, they were big, clunky, and monocular.

The newest versions are lighter, work better, and are binocular devices.

Here’s the EOTech Fusion Goggle Enhanced – Night Vision Goggle.

The EOTech Fusion Goggle Enhanced - Night vision goggle that can fuse IR and I2 imagery into one view.
The EOTech Fusion Goggle Enhanced – This is a binocular Night Vision Goggle that can fuse IR and I2 imagery into one view. You can see the IR sensor in the center.

This appears to be a civilian or LEO version of the army’s new ENVG-B device.

(I’m guessing – but it’s a pretty close match.)

Here’s the ENVG-B.

The ENVG-B (Enhanced Night Vision Goggle - Binocular) is the next generation of night vision tech for the US Army. It fuses I2 and thermal technology into one binocular unit.
The ENVG-B (Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular) is the next generation of night vision tech for the US Army. It fuses I2 and thermal technology into one binocular unit. Photo by by Patrick Ferraris

What’s the benefit of such a fusion device?

Watch this video and you’ll see how the user can choose to use Image Intensification (aka light amplification) via the traditional IIT tubes, thermal imagery, or both “fused” together into a singular view.

This is NOT a video showing the capabilities of the ENVG-B, rather it’s of the previous iteration.

Notice the “lag” when the user moves their head while using the fused imagery.

I don’t think the Army is going to be giving us civilians a sneak peek at how improved the ENVG-B is for quite some time.

The ENVG-B just finished testing, and is being made available now, it seems.

ENVG-B device undergoing field testing.
The Enhanced Night Vision Google- Binocular is wrapping up testing and will be fielded soon.

The ENVG-B has some super-advanced capabilities too.

For example, it can be wirelessly paired to the new FWS (Family of Weapons Sights) sights and allow the soldier to see around corners.

This is called “Rapid Target Acquisition” capability.

Soldier using ENVG-B night vision with FWS-I weapon sight.
Soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, are the first to receive the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular and the Family of Weapon Sights – Individual. The goggles can be wirelessly paired to the sight on the weapon – and in this case it allows the soldier to “see around corners.”

This new device is the natural evolution from the ENVG or AN/PSQ-20.

That’s the dual waveband device that the U.S. Army has used in the past.

As you can see, it’s pretty big, and it is a monocular.

EOTech Enhanced Night Vision Goggle - Dual Waveband technology fuses thermal imagery with Image Intensification (I2) tech
EOTech Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Dual Waveband technology fuses thermal imagery with Image Intensification (I2) tech. This is known as the ENVG or AN/PSQ-20 in U.S. Army nomenclature.

Advanced Night Vision Goggles – In Summary

Quad tube and Gen III night vision goggles are old news.

The most advanced night vision goggles for 2019 are lighter, better, and have new capabilities.

The most advanced units can fuse thermal imagery with light amplification technology to offer incredible new capabilities and “overmatch” for those that posses these devices.

How can you defend yourself against this tech? Wearing NIR compliant clothing and uniform items is a good start.

References

Soldier Lethality team delivers big win for AFC

Photo Credits

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Much of the photos in this article are provided by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), or the manufacturers – and are the property of the manufacturers.

Affiliate disclaimer

We are an affiliate of OpticsPlanet.com and this article contains affiliate links. If you purchase equipment after clicking through these links, we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps us to bring you great information about this technology.

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