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Friday, March 5th, 2021

Marine rifle squads benefit from upgraded night vision devices

© U.S. Marine Corps

Marines Corps personnel are espousing the benefits of an updated helmet-mounted night vision system designed to enhance the infantry’s lethality and situational awareness in reduced visibility.

Marine Corps Systems Command accelerated the acquisition of about 1,300 Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggles (SBNVG) using existing Defense Logistics Agency contracts.

“We have employed a bridge capability to give Marines the best gear right now available in the commercial marketplace,” Lt. Col. Tim Hough, program manager for Infantry Weapons, said. “A final procurement solution will allow a larger pool of our industry partners to bid on the program.”

Army/Navy Portable Visual Search devices have been employed by the military since at least the 1990s, and have been upgraded with next-generation systems as funding and technology became available.

Marine Corps officials said the SBNVG is expected to enhance the infantry’s lethality and situational awareness in reduced visibility via combining two systems – a binocular night vision device and an enhanced clip-on thermal imager.

“The lethality that it’ll bring is exponential,” Cpl. Zachary Zapata, a Marine who participated in the training, said. “With these new (BNVGs), having the ability to not only use thermal optics along with it, but just the entire depth perception and speed that we can operate in is going to significantly increase, as opposed to what we were able to do in the past.”