The objective of night vision technology, Army researchers wrote more than a half-century ago, is simple: “to make it possible for the soldier to operate at night with daytime flexibility and faculty.” That’s how the Army’s early night vision research was first described in September 1965 issue of Army Research and Development Newsmagazine — and with its next round of enhanced night vision goggles, the service is on the brink out blowing this decades-old objective out of the water.
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 Army just took a major step forward in reclaiming the night: Scientists recently developed a new process to engineer a material that could revolutionize the branch’s night vision capabilities at minimal cost, the Army announced on Jan. 11. This new material, if incorporated into an infrared camera system, could significantly enhance soldiers’ ability to assess (and lay waste to) the battlefield under the cover of darkness.
In mid-November, a group of elite Taliban commandos outfitted with U.S-made assault weapons and night-vision goggles wiped out dozens of Afghan security forces in a series of brazen raids across southern and western Afghanistan. The tactics and gear utilized by the so-called Red Unit sent a wave of anxiety through U.S. and Afghan defense officials already struggling to beat back the rising tide of a Taliban resurgence since the official end of NATO combat operations in 2014.