WEAPONS AND TECHNOLOGY: Night Vision Devices
Day for Night
In the May 2011 raid on a Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden was killed, the helicopter pilots, the Navy SEALs who stormed the walled hideout – and according to some reports, the combat assault dog that accompanied them – were all wearing night-vision goggles on the super secret mission.
But night vision capabilities aren’t limited to special operations forces. Navy and Air Force pilots use them for search and rescue operations and other nighttime missions. Tanks and other vehicles are equipped with them for both targeting and maneuvering. U.S. military units like to boast that they “own the night” largely because of the widespread use of night-vision goggles and other night-vision devices that give warfighters an extra edge in the dark.
For more than 60 years the U.S. military has been developing technologies that allow troops to see in the dark — starting with rudimentary sniper scopes near the end of World War II — now there are night-vision goggles, helmets and weapons sights that allow troops to operate 24 hours a day.
According to the U.S. Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, by the end of the 20th century more than 400,000 Image Intensifier Systems and 60,000 thermal systems had been fielded.
In the photo above, Romanian Marines navigate through a tree line during a night vision goggle familiarization exercise with U.S. Marines at Babadag Training Area, Romania in 2010.
Entry filed under: Afghanistan, Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorism, Technology, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: Counter Insurgency, counter terrorism, Marine Corps, night operations, night vision, Romanian Marines.