- The Army has put out several videos of training seen through its new ENVG-B night-vision goggles.
- One wild-looking video shows soldiers firing M777 Howitzers.
- An earlier video shows soldiers firing machine guns and mortars as seen through the goggles.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The US Army has put out several videos in recent weeks showing the field of battle through the service’s new night-vision goggles, including one showing artillery fire.
The most recent video shows soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, which is assigned to the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, firing M777 Howitzers at Yakima Training Center in Washington state.
The scenes in the video, which look like something straight out of a video game, were shot through the Army’s new Enhanced Night Vision Goggles – Binocular (ENVG-B).
An earlier video showed, through the lenses of the ENVG-B system, soldiers from 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, conducting a platoon live-fire exercise including mortar and machine-gun fire.
The ENVG-B is an Elbit Systems of America product that the Army started fielding in fall 2019 at Fort Riley in Kansas as a replacement for the older monocular PVS-14 night vision devices.
Moving away from the traditional green of older night-vision systems, the newer ENVG-B offers a clearer picture of the battlespace.
Insider recently had the opportunity to test-out the helmet-mounted binocular goggles equipped with image intensified white phosphor tubes and thermal imaging, among other improvements to legacy night-vision devices.
In addition to the I2 technology and thermal, the goggles also offer an outline mode, which can be seen in the recent videos, and an augmented-reality overlay for better situational awareness.
In the heads-up display, soldiers can see a compass and other digital tools, such as force tracking.
Using the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) software application, troops can mark friendly forces with a blue marker, enemy forces with a red marker, and unidentifiable persons or objects with a question mark.
John Ennis, a member of the Elbit Systems product development team, told a handful of reporters recently that “if you saw something on the side of the road that you thought was an IED or something, you could actually mark it [and] broadcast it out to your team.”
The markers are visible to all soldiers connected to the network on a personal Nett Warrior device on their vest and in their advanced night-vision goggles in an augmented-reality space. US soldiers can customize how much or little they see.
The goggles can connect wirelessly to a soldier’s rifle through the Family of Weapon Sights-Individual for rapid target acquisition and more accurate shooting, even from the hip and around corners.
With a picture-in-picture setup in the heads-up display, soldiers can simultaneously see what is in front of them and wherever their weapon is aiming.
Soldiers can also transmit live video from unmanned aerial systems directly into the heads-up display.
One soldier who had the opportunity to try out the ENVG-B a couple of years ago described it as an “insane game changer,” stating in a 2019 Army release that “nothing else offers these kinds of capabilities.”
Although this technology is impressive, higher-end threats posed by near-peer adversaries like China and Russia, such as electronic warfare threats, mean that US soldiers have to be ready to go back to the basics if necessary.
“All this technology is great,” Jeff Lee, a member of the Elbit Systems business development team with a background in special operations, said recently.
“We always want to be at the cutting edge all the time,” he continued, “but we always also have to remember our roots and be able to do things without all those capabilities in case it gets taken away.”
If the advanced ENVG-B features were ever suddenly not available on the battlefield, soldiers could still use the base night-vision capabilities.