Owning the Environment: Current Trajectory in Army Visual Sensors

Owning the Environment: Current Trajectory in Army Visual Sensors image
June 22, 2015 | Source: CERDEC Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (May 14, 2015) - The development of night vision technology, which began during World War II, expanded the environments in which the United States military could operate because night missions were now possible giving the Soldier an advantage over adversaries.

Today the military still depends on technological advancements that enable service members to see better in their surroundings, whether day, night or in a degraded visual environment. The Army continues to research, develop and refine sensor and display technologies suitable for the Soldier.

The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, or CERDEC NVESD, is a Department of Defense lead for sensor development and the DOD and world leader in electro-optic/infrared sensors and EO/IR sensors electronics, said Dr. Donald Reago, CERDEC NVESD director.

“As an organization, we are responsible for development of technologies and system prototypes,” said Reago to an international civilian and military audience at the annual SPIE Defense Security and Sensing conference in Baltimore, Maryland April 21.  Reago highlighted key technology areas and trends for NVESD and addressed the challenges and benefits of emerging sensors technologies.

“Today’s average Soldier out in the field has a pair of image intensified goggles,” Reago said. “He or she has a night vision goggle that works in the near infrared. The technology has been around for 40 years; it works phenomenally well in terms of amplifying starlight and ambient light and producing it within your eye. There’s no analog, there’s no digital – light comes in, light comes out.”

There are setbacks though to the legacy goggle technology in the field, as it does not have thermal capabilities and there is not a seamless transition for Soldiers using goggles from day to night or for use at a distance or close up. These setbacks are what current technology developments are working to improve, said Reago.