TAMPA – ITT EXELIS showcased an integrated next-generation night-vision goggle technology able to connect soldiers with real-time intelligence at the 2013 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference here.
The device, called i-Aware Tactical, includes a heads-up display inside the viewing area, providing soldiers with networked information from nearby sensors and computers.
“You can have a heads up display inside the goggle which can be maps, images or GPS coordinates. You can configure it for text messages. This is a multi-faceted device. It allows us to take night vision technology and connect it to a tactical network, allowing the sending and receiving of situational awareness information. You can connect this to video feeds from airborne UAS or manned aircraft or ground vehicles,” said Ed Yarish, manager, Business Development, ITT.
ITT developers say the i-Aware Tactical delivers the same night vision capability as the AN/PVS-14, the night vision scope used most frequently in the U.S. military, in a light-weight 2.2-pound binocular with advanced technical features. Other features include the ability to last longer than 15 hours with a Lithium AA battery and a 25 cm to infinity range focus.
Most smartassery aside, consider the implications of this in a deployed location, in MOOTW operations and anywhere there is a need to rapidly to establish some force protection measures (we hate that term, by the way). Certainly water won’t always be available (though it doesn’t have to be potable for these to work), but then presumably we won’t always be wearing PT belts and fighting battles in arid, landlocked countries. Structures and the reinforcement of sandbags are obvious, but what if something like Hescos were made out of this? Could we have a more easily transportable T Wall option using something like this? It’s the increased speed of putting infrastructure in place that seems most obvious to us – you air assault in, inflate one of these and in less than 24 hours some brigade commander’s flunky could be giving direction to a platoon in the field from a position of relative safety.
Would this technology make it faster to establish a COP, or help recover from a natural disaster? FEMA trailers are nice and never wasted, but might this be a more durable option in places suffering recurring damage from weather? Perhaps skeletonized canvas walls could be erected in anticipation of a flood, or in places where people insist it’s a fantastic idea to live in a bog below sea level.
This time all smartassery aside, any ideas?
We located a couple of places that seem to be carrying this stuff:
Defense Tech recently released their “top service inventions of 2011″ if you missed it. It took until nearly the end of 2012 to make the announcement and the “Gear Oscars” won’t be celebrated until 2013 (I won’t be moderating) but it’s still an interesting read. Their list includes:
A 120mm Global Positioning System-guided mortar cartridge that provides infantry commanders with new precision-strike capability…
Caiman Explosively Formed Penetrator Add-on-Armor Kits
An armor package that can be integrated into a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle with little modification to an existing armor package, protecting the driver and commander sides and mitigating the exposed area from explosively formed penetrators…
A helmet sensor and data retrieval system that measure impact and pressure events continuously…
I posted a story on Military.com this morning about the Army’s plans to outfit the ranks with permethrin-treated Army Combat Uniforms. I’m still on the fence about this one.
On one hand, I think it’s great that uniform officials claim that factory-treating ACUs with permethrin will solve past problems of under-treating or over-treating uniforms when using the Individual Dynamic Absorption Kits to apply permethrin.
In some cases, these individual treatment kits result in the permethrin being too concentrated on random sections of the uniforms. This led to contact dermatitis and other skin rashes, according to PEO Soldier officials. Treating uniforms with permethin at the factory level provides consistent coverage that’s strong enough to kill crawling insects but safe for everyday wear, PEO Soldier officials said, adding that the Army’s Surgeon General approved the treatment method in 2008.
Soldiers deploying to the warzone have been wearing flame-resistant ACUs that have been factory treated with permethrin for the past two years.
I have never worn permethrin-treated uniforms of any type. But even though 25 years have passed, I can still remember plucking blood-bloated ticks from the darkest regions of my body after spending a week in the bug-friendly hinterlands of Fort Bragg. Back then, I’m pretty sure I would have been happy to wear something like the Army’s new ACU-P.
Eurosatory 12 is over, but I still have a few goodies left over from Paris that might interest you. I know I showed the Israeli’s a lot of love last week on this blog, but I just couldn’t help it. They kept showing me cool stuff — like the new Meslas 10×40 Sniper’s Fire-Controlled Riflescope.
The Meslas, made by Pulse Inteco Systems Ltd., features a laser rangefinder that’s effective out to 2,000 meters and a ballistic computer that provides the sniper with a red dot showing where the bullet will strike the target. The Meslas features a data port so the shooter can upload ballistic tables, wind tables and other sniper tools for the mission, PI Systems officials maintain. In other words, Meslas doesn’t do it all; you need sniper skills to make it effective.
Army infantry officials say the squad machine gun developed under the Lightweight Small Arms Technologies program has matured enough to become a serious contender to replace the venerable M249 squad automatic weapon. It’s nearly half the weight of the M249, and its “cased-telescoped” ammunition is significantly lighter than standard linked ammo, according to Col. Daniel Barnett, director the Soldier Requirements Division at Fort Benning, Ga.
“It’s actually progressed pretty well; I have fired it a couple of times,” Barnett said. The current version of LSAT, developed by AAI Corporation with government funding, weighs 9.4 pounds compared to the M249 squad automatic weapon, which weighs in at roughly 17 pounds.
LSAT’s cased-telescoped 5.56mm ammunition that relies on a plastic case rather than a brass one to hold the propellant and the projectile, like a conventional shotgun shell. It weighs 37 percent less than standard belted 5.56mm.
Small Arms experts don’t argue that LSAT is extremely impressive, but they doubt big Army anywhere near ready to dump brass-cased ammo. Huge stockpiles of ammunition and shrinking defense budgets will likely convince the top brass to shelve the program until the next war.