Special Ops: Vehicle-based Night Vision, IR Devices Provide Stealth
A key to US special ops forces is stealth. Night vision and thermal imaging (IR) devices are among the best tools to provide that stealth.
One way to provide those capabilities is through goggles worn by the special ops forces. Another way is to have those capabilities built into their vehicles.
The US Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) has two primary vehicle-based systems: the short-range and the long-range ground mobility visual augmentation systems. The systems are installed in the Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV), which is a modified Humvee designed for special ops, and the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle.
FLIR Systems in Wilsonville, OR provides the short-range system under a $49.8 million contract awarded in 2008. Recently, that same company won a $35.2 million contract to supply the long-range system.
According to a FedBizOpps sources sought notice, the long-range ground mobility visual augmentation system (LR-GMVAS) is a vehicle-based night vision and thermal surveillance and detection systems.
The mission of the LR-GMVAS Program is to provide special ops forces with the ability to navigate SOF vehicles, conduct surveillance, detect, identify and track threats in all light and weather conditions. The vehicles that will use the LR-GMVAS include the GMVs, MRAPs, and future special ops vehicles.
According to the notice, LR-GMVAS should have 1 or more sensor modules capable of producing visual images in all light and weather conditions including low light/ no light situations, as well as fog, smoke, sand, dust, and high humidity.
The sensor module should be able to detect, at a minimum: tanks (at 8 miles); trucks (at 6 miles); personnel (at 3 miles) and helicopters (at 8 miles).
The display monitor should have a selectable visible mode and non-visible mode, which should be visible using Generation 3 night vision goggles. In addition, the system should have a laser rangefinder that is capable of determining a target’s range and designating a target in the non-visible spectrum.
FLIR Systems will make the LR-GMVAS at its facility in Billerica, MA and expects to complete the work by 2011. US SOCOM manages the contract (H92222-10-D-0013).