New binocular night vision devices that swap the old green tinted view with clearer white phosphor imaging will be in the hands of grunts by spring 2020, according to Marine officials.
On Sept. 6 the Corps awarded a contract valued at $249 million to Harris Corp., based out of Roanoke, Virginia, for the purchase of squad binocular night vision Goggle systems, according to a news release.
The Corps expects delivery of 14,000 devices, with the first sets to be doled out to grunts, according to the release.
“Awarding this SBNVG contract and fielding these systems to the warfighter is one more step toward increasing the command and control, lethality and ability of the infantry squad to overwhelm our adversaries,” Lt. Col. Tim Hough, the program manager for infantry weapons at Marine Corps Systems Command, said in a release.
The new night vision device is a combination of binocular goggles and a clip-on thermal imager, which will improve depth perception and the ability to see in extreme low light and inclement weather, the release detailed.
“Additionally, the use of white phosphor provides a greater capability to see at night with more clarity, giving Marines enhanced situational awareness,” Hugh said in the release.
The Marine Corps posted its for proposal for the new night vision devices in the fall of 2018.
Prior to the awarding of the contract, the Corps used a Defense Logistics Agency contract to procure 1,300 systems, according to a release.
“We made the investment to procure the 1,300 systems and fielded them to two infantry battalion, so we already had a good, robust understanding of the technology we were chasing,” Roberto Gonzalez, team lead for combat optics at Marine Corps Systems Command, said in a release.
Grunts with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, embarked with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be fielding the new night vision devices.
The infantry Marines with the 26th MEU are currently operating 15-Marine sized squads, and will be the first Marine unit to deploy and test the new squad configuration.
The Corps said it expects the contract and delivery of the new night vision devices to be complete by September 2024, according to a release.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.