In operational assessments last November during the U.S. Army’s Expeditionary Warrior Experiment at Fort Benning, Ga., one of the most popular technologies handed out to infantrymen was likely ITT Exelis’ Spiral Enhanced Night Vision Goggle (SENVG).
The goggles, which combine image intensification and thermal detection, allow soldiers to obtain a clearer picture at night, in color. The SENVG is based on the existing Enhanced Night Vision Goggle (ENVG), but it has added functions such as an improved thermal capability and a vastly increased zoom.
The new device also can be modified to allow soldiers to connect to the Army’s new battlefield network to push data and video feeds into their goggles, right down at the pointiest end of the tactical edge.
The first ENVG contract with the Army was signed in 2005 for more than 9,000 goggles, followed by another $43 million deal for 3,600 more devices in 2009. Now the Army is preparing to add 3,800 of the updated SENVGs to its arsenal, announcing a deal with the company on May 1 valued at about $49.5 million.
The 2-pound SENVG captures infrared heat signatures that allow the soldier to pick up targets even if partially obscured behind other objects. It can also sense the residual heat left behind on walls that someone might have recently been leaning against.