The Marine Corps has begun fielding brand-new night vision goggles to Force Reconnaissance and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines, Marine Corps Systems Command announced on Monday, with the goal of achieving full operational capacity by spring 2019.

  • The Binocular Night Vision Goggle II (BNVG II), which will mount to the front of the standard issue Enhanced Combat Helmet, is designed to improve depth perception and visibility by “amplify ambient light” from sources like the stars and moon to better detect hidden objects, whether they're buried explosives or enemies using foliated cover.
  • In addition, the BNVG II's Clip-on Thermal Imager (COTI) adds a Predator-style (we hope) thermal overlay to the existing field of vision, allowing Marines to discern living targets under even the darkest of conditions. Together, MARCORSYSCOM officials say, they represent a major boost to Marines' lethality.
  • “The BNVG II helps Marines see enemies at a distance, and uses the COTI to detect ordnance or power sources for an explosive device that give off heat,” Infantry Weapons program analyst Nia Cherry said in a release. “The COTI intensifies Marines’ ability to see anything in dark conditions, rain, fog, dust, smoke and through bushes that the legacy binoculars couldn’t.”

The BNVG II, when taken with the new M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles and Mk 13 Mod 7 sniper rifles, certainly represents the gear of an even deadlier Marine. But it's also worth noting that L3 Technologies announced a three-year, $391 million contract for the new Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular (ENVG-B) googles that effectively allow troops to fire around corners — to the Army. Soon! Christmas is just a few months away.