Through a Glass, Darkly: Night Vision Gives US Troops Edge

May 6/16: Elbit Systems has announced the successful testing external link of their new BrightNite multi-spectral panoramic vision system external link. The system was installed on an Airbus Twin-Star helicopter and trialed by a dozen pilots from various Air Forces. BrightNite’s function is to allow utility helicopters to successfully operate in poor visibility missions, and was tested during moonless and pitch-back night-time conditions, when missions are rarely executed.

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Night raid(click to view larger) A USA Today article, dramatically demonstrates the advantage night vision capabilities provide to US troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was Christmas Eve 2007, and US Army Rangers were searching for suspected Al-Qaeda members in Mosul, Iraq. Using their night vision goggles to avoid alerting the enemy, the Rangers found 2 Al-Qaeda suspects who were holding an 11-year-old Iraqi boy hostage. Thanks to their night vision capabilities, they were able to shoot the suspects without harming the boy. After that encounter, a firefight erupted between the Army rangers and Al-Qaeda insurgents, with 10 insurgents killed, including the head of an assassination cell. Army ranger losses? Zero. As former General Barry McCaffrey, commander of the US Army’s 24th Infantry Division in the 1991 Desert Storm conflict, commented: “Our night vision capability provided the single greatest mismatch of the war.” It still does. This free DID Spotlight Article will examine how this technology works, how its military application has developed over years, how the technology is used by troops in the field, as well as major contracts for procuring night vision goggles. Night Vision Technology Thermal image of tank(click to view larger) Night vision […]

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