Next-Generation Binoculars Contribute To Marines Battlefield Survivability
by U.S. Marine Corps Kaitlin Kelly, Systems Command
August 11, 2018
Marines will have better situational awareness on missions in dark areas thanks to new night vision goggles.
The Binocular Night Vision Goggle II (BNVG II) is a helmet-mounted binocular that gives operators improved depth perception at night, and uses white phosphor Image Intensification technology to amplify ambient light, with a modular thermal imaging overlay capability. BNVG II helps Marines identify potential buried explosive devices, find hidden objects within foliated areas and safely conduct tasks that require depth perception.
A Marine with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s force reconnaissance platoon waits on the flight deck before low-light fast rope training aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard in the Pacific Ocean, June 25, 2017. The new Binocular Night Vision Goggle II being fielded by Marine Corps Systems Command will give force recon and explosive ordnance disposal Marines improved depth perception and better situational awareness on night missions. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. T. T. Parish)
Marine Corps Systems Command began fielding the BNVG II to Force Reconnaissance and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines this spring, and full operational capability is planned for the second quarter of fiscal 2019.
The BNVG II includes a Binocular Night Vision Device and a Clip-on Thermal Imager, or COTI, that attaches to the body of the BNVD with a bracket. The BNVD amplifies the small amount of existing light emitted by stars, the moon’s glow or other ambient light sources, and uses the light to clearly display objects in detail in very dark conditions. The COTI uses heat energy from the Marine’s surroundings to add a thermal overlay which allows the image to be viewed more clearly. It helps Marines with situational awareness in conditions with little to no light.
“The BNVG II helps Marines see enemies at a distance, and uses the COTI to detect ordnance or power sources for an explosive device that give off heat,” said Nia Cherry, program analyst with Infantry Weapons. “The COTI intensifies Marines’ ability to see anything in dark conditions, rain, fog, dust, smoke and through bushes that the legacy binoculars couldn’t.”
The BNVG II is a follow-on to the legacy, battle-proven AN/PVS-15 binocular, but offers more features—such as the COTI—for increased survivability. The BNVD component is a compact, lightweight, Generation-3 Dual Tube Night Vision Goggle with an ergonomic low-profile design. It offers superior situational awareness compared to the AN/PVS-15, utilized by Reconnaissance Marines, and the single-tube AN/PVS-14 Monocular Night Vision Device utilized throughout the rest of the Marine Corps. It mounts to the Enhanced Combat Helmet and may be used individually or in conjunction with the COTI.
“In March, we held an exercise in San Diego where Marines provided positive feedback on their ability to easily maneuver with the goggles,” said Joe Blackstone, Optics Team lead in Infantry Weapons. “The depth perception provided by the BNVG II enhances precision and increases the operator’s survivability while on missions with limited lighting.”
Infantry Weapons falls under Ground Combat Element Systems at MCSC.