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.
Here’s the gear we’re going to review in this article.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See the ENVG-B being used in conjunction with the FWS sight here:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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