AUSA NEWS: L3Harris Awarded Contract for EOD Night Vision Goggles

By Mikayla Easley

L3Harris photo

Explosive ordnance disposal soldiers have some of the toughest and most dangerous jobs in the Army. Soon, they will be equipped with an advanced new night-vision goggle that can help them detect, disable and neutralize explosive devises in low-light or no-light conditions. 

The Army recently awarded a contract to L3Harris to deliver its Binocular Night Vision Device-1531, the company announced Oct. 11. While the goggles are similar in physical design to L3Harris’ AN/PVS-31 night vision binoculars, company executives say the BNVD-1531 has a significant reduction in weight to allow for lighter handling.

“L3Harris’ strategic investments in our night vision technology ensures our customers have the right solution for the mission,” said Lynn Bollengier, president of integrated vision solutions at the company, in a statement. “Whether they are engaging a threat on the battlefield, or disabling a roadside improvised explosive device, our technology ensures users can operate with the same clarity and situational awareness at night as they would during the day.”

The goggles feature adjustable diopters and a figure of merit, or FOM, of 2376 — higher than the military standard of 2304. Figure of merit is calculated by multiplying the signal-to-noise ratio by the resolution of a night vision imaging device to determine a rough estimate of its performance.

These two characteristics are key for explosive ordnance disposal specialists, said Leith Ames, director of business development at L3Harris's integrated vision solutions division.

"You can adjust and focus for near and far things,” he explained. “That was important for the EOD folks that needed to be able to do things inches away from their eyes but then also see threats and other things from afar.”

Because military minimum FOM is 2304, Ames said the BNVD-1531’s higher number combined with its ability to adjust is a new and important feature for the Army.

Ames pointed to other key components of the BNVD-1531 that can also help EOD specialists stayed focused on their tasks for a longer period of time. For example, the goggles use white phosphor that causes less eye strain and fatigue than the green phosphor traditionally used for night vision. The BNVD-1531 will also not be networked.

“The EOD guys didn’t necessarily need all this other stuff that came into their field of view — they need to be able to concentrate,” Ames said. “Giving them a really clean, clear picture of what they’re working on was extremely important.”

The BNVD-1531 also features a manual gain adjustment, individually rotating monocular and an integrated infrared illuminator, according to a company press release. The goggles can be mounted on a helmet, attached to a headband or used as a handheld system.

The system is set to roll out to the Army in the spring of 2022,  Ames said. He declined to disclose the price of the contract. 

The BNVD-1531 isn't just for EOD specialists, he noted. It could be useful and improve performance for any service member. 

“You can adjust them to your eyesight, … you can write things under night vision without having to pull out a flashlight and do stuff with a white light that may give away your location,” he said. “There’s a lot of applications where going further out and coming back in and being able to focus on what the task at hand is really helps out.”

Topics: Land Forces

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