Successful Combination of Goggles and Weapon Sight
In today’s battlefield environment, it is critical for soldiers to be able to quickly locate and identify targets, especially during nighttime operations or when visibility is poor because of heavy smoke or bad weather. Currently soldiers use two different devices – night vision goggles for situational awareness and the thermal weapon sight for aiming, which impacts how quickly the soldier can acquire and engage the target.
BAE Systems, in partnership with the U.S Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, has integrated these two devices with Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA) technology. Under the U.S. Army’s Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III and Family of Weapon Sight-Individual (ENVG III/FWS-I) program, BAE Systems is currently qualifying and initiating production of the integrated night vision targeting solution for deployment to the field.
BAE Systems has developed a wireless video interface between the weapon sight and goggle so imagery from the weapon sight will be transmitted to the goggle and viewed via the goggle display in real time. This RTA capability eliminates the need for soldiers to rely on aiming lasers, so they are able to remain covert.
The U.S. Army has recently awarded BAE Systems a $13.5 million order to begin producing the new thermal weapon sight for soldiers. Under the low rate initial production award, the company will deliver more than 100 Family of Weapon Sights-Individual (FWS-I) systems as part of a previously announced five-year contract for the Army’s Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III and Family of Weapon Sight-Individual (ENVG III/FWS-I) program.
“These advanced weapon sights will allow soldiers to conduct surveillance and acquire targets in any light or weather conditions, increasing mission safety and effectiveness,” said Marc Casseres, director of Imaging and Aiming Solutions at BAE Systems. “This production order means that soldiers are one step closer to receiving this mission-critical technology for use in-theater.”
According to BAE Systems’ website, the company-developed FWS-I solution integrates its first-to-market 12-micron technology, which helps make its offering smaller and lighter while providing superior image quality. The uncooled infrared thermal weapon sight allows soldiers to clearly view targets at more than 1,000 meters away. The clip-on sight can be mounted on various weapons. It can also seamlessly connect with the ENVG III for increased survivability and lethality.
The innovative RTA solution uses a wireless connection to integrate the weapon sight view directly into the soldier’s goggle so targets can be quickly located and engaged from any carry position, without needing to raise the weapon to the eye. This allows soldiers to accurately engage targets while still maintaining full cover.