Welcome to the future of nighttime ground combat.
The U.S. Army this week on social media shared images for all the world to see of the latest in night vision technology. While impressive, the images also send a message to the country’s adversaries: Be very afraid.
The Twitter account for the Second Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, or the Lancer Brigade, shared images of new technology that look as if they were lifted from a Hollywood film or a futuristic video game.
— Lancer Brigade (@lancer_brigade) April 22, 2021
Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binoculars, according to the Army Acquisition Support Center, provide “close combat forces with the capability to observe and maneuver in all weather conditions, through obscurants, during limited visibility, and under all lighting conditions.”
“This system signifies an evolution in technology that stems from innovative and collaborative efforts between Program Executive Office Soldier (PEO Soldier), Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team (SL-CFT), and Army Futures Command (AFC).
“Additionally, it successfully demonstrates the rapid prototyping process to meet the Army’s modernization priorities and is the first program to deliver an Army Futures Command capability set,” the Army added.
“The use of white phosphor tubes does away with the ‘green glow’ of past systems while providing a sharper contrast. In fact, the contrast is so sharp, it resembles cel shading techniques used in video games,” the outlet reported.
The stunning images shared by the Army online, if seen by anyone with a mind for going head-to-head with American fighting units, may force them to think twice.
The goggles were created with input from troops who tested them while they were being developed. The Army, for obvious reasons, has not announced if the ENVG-B is already being used overseas.
Americans actually invented the first markedly successful night vision technology and were the first to deploy into battle during the last campaign in the Pacific theater of World War II on Okinawa.
The Japanese Army was brutally resistant throughout the war, but when American forces landed so close to the Japanese mainland, fighting was unimaginable.
The development of night vision technology via an infrared, rifle-mounted night sight was a game-changer against an enemy that had for four years, by the time 1945 rolled around, used the hours after sunset as a tactical advantage.
“[I]n 1943, the U.S. Army Engineer Board at Fort Belvoir, Va., began development of an infrared sight to provide night-vision capability to our troops. The Army engineers devised a rather rudimentary instrument consisting of an electronic telescope and sealed-beam light, somewhat similar to an automobile headlight, fitted with an infrared filter,” American Rifleman reported.
— Second World War (@WW2HQ) February 27, 2021
By 1945, the technology had been given a chance on the battlefield.
“Using this weapon, a soldier could see in the dark to a range of about 70 yds. (64 m), with objects appearing in the scope in various shades of green. About 30 percent of the total Japanese casualties inflicted through rifle fire during the first weeks of the Okinawa operation were from the sniperscope,” Rifleman noted.
“Although they were heavy and bulky, it was nice to sit in a concealed position and watch the green images of Japanese soldiers creep forward. A quick blast … and another enemy soldier lay dead.”
It’s as fitting as it is impressive that the latest night vision technology was developed by Americans and will be used by American troops during future conflicts.
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