BAE Systems is developing state-of-the-art goggles for the U.S. Army that combine night vision and thermal imaging technology.
The Army has awarded the defense technology specialist a five-year contract worth up to $434 million for the system, which will give soldiers faster and more accurate targeting. The tech will work in all weather and lighting conditions, according to BAE.
A BAE spokesman told FoxNews.com that the high-tech goggles are expected to be in the hands of servicemembers in late 2016 or early 2017.
At the moment, military personnel rely on two separate devices – night vision goggles and a weapon-mounted thermal targeting sight. This means that soldiers must acquire targets through their goggles and then raise the weapon sight into their field of view. BAE, however, is integrating night vision and thermal targeting capabilities into a single sight displayed on the soldiers’ goggles. A wireless video interface is used to send thermal images from the weapon sight to the goggles.
The company says that the technology will help military personnel acquire targets and engage enemy combatants faster, and also reduces the need for aiming lasers, enabling soldiers to remain hidden longer.
“The ability to conduct surveillance in any light or weather condition increases mission safety and effectiveness,” said Terry Crimmins, BAE Systems’ vice president and general manager of Survivability and Targeting Solutions, in a statement.
Working with the U.S Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, BAE is testing the technology as part of the Army’s Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III and Family of Weapon Sight-Individual (ENVG III/FWS-I) program. Development and manufacturing is taking place at a BAE facility in Hudson, N.H.