ENVG-III/ FWS-I: Point and Shoot Night Vision
The next step in soldier night vision is here.
Night Vision Goggles have provided American troops with important combat advantages, and the technology has continued to advance. The Army has moved to field Enhanced Night Vision Goggles, but soldiers complained about the first 9,000 or so. 2013 saw generation II ENVGs arrive, but the Pentagon is really excited about ENVG III, and that excitement goes beyond improvements in resolution. They’re so excited that they’ve just issued 9-figure contracts to 2 firms…
May 6/14: US Army Contracting Command in Aberdeen, MD issues a pair of contracts for Individual weapons sights and their accompanying Enhanced Night Vision Goggle IIIs. The core idea is that ENVG IIIs and accompanying weapon sights work together, so that the NVG wearer sees what the sight sees, even if the weapon isn’t at eye level. This is especially handy in urban warfare situations like those faced in Iraq and Somalia, where an extra half-second to acquire a target can make all of the difference.
Each set of NVGs and weapon sights will be solicited as a separate order, with the respective firms bidding for each lot until May 6/19. Initial reports revolved around ITT Exelis and L-3, who had strong incumbent positions for infantry and aviation, and a total of 5 firms bid for the expected 2 slots. The winners turned out to be:
- BAE Systems, Inc. in Nashua, NH wins a maximum $444.8 million firm-fixed-price contract (W91CRB-14-D-0010).
- DRS RSTA Inc. in Dallas, TX wins a $367 million firm-fixed-price contract. (W91CRB-14-D-0011).
June 12/13: The US Army issues non-commercial solicitation #W91CRB-13-R-0028 for the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III (ENVG III) and its associated Family of Weapon Sights – Individual (FWS-I):
“The distinction of ENVG III from previous ENVGs procured to date is the added Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA) technology when used with the FWS-I. The FWS-I will be a weapon mounted long wave infrared sensor used for surveillance and fire control of individual weapons during daylight, darkness, adverse weather and dirty battlefield conditions. When combined with the ENVG III, the FWS-I provides RTA which will wirelessly send weapon imagery (with reticle) spatially aligned with the ENVG III image. The RTA capability will reduce by up to 50 percent the Soldier’s time from target detection to effective engagement of the threat target with their host weapon.”
- NDIA National Defense (April 2014) – Army to Equip Soldiers With New Sensors for Night Targeting.
- DID – Through a Glass, Darkly: Night Vision Gives US Troops the Edge.