Throughout the course of history, military combat has generally been a daylight activity because the human eye was never designed to operate effectively during the hours of darkness. Operations at night have always been degraded significantly, if not totally avoided. Typically, soldiers fighting at night have had to resort to artificial illumination, e.g., fire first and/or light sources, (such as searchlights) later.
Night operations have always been hazardous to conduct and difficult to control. Unimpaired vision is indispensable to the performance of all military tasks required of Soldiers and their commanders. Today, much of this has changed, and night operations are not only feasible but have been demonstrated time and time again on the battlefield.
The advent of new technologies, initially in the 1950's and continuing into the present time has changed this situation. The engineers and scientists at the Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) have discovered ways to capture available electro-magnetic radiation outside the portion of the light spectrum visible to the human eye.
In our state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities, we conduct advanced research and component development resulting in the production of low risk sensors and sensor suite platforms to support ground combat, aviation pilotage and countermine missions.
Since the conclusion of World War II and into the early 1950s, US military tacticians began to explore the advantages of covertly illuminating the battlefield and gain superiority in operating during the darkness of night and decreased visibility.
Further exploring technology initially developed in the 1930s, engineers and scientists at the US Army RDECOM CERDEC Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate have worked diligently to improve that technology enabling our Soldiers to fight as superiorly at night as during the day.
For over 40 years we have provided our Warfighters with the most advanced solutions with the goals of maintaining a tactical edge which leads to total domination on the modern battlefield.
The success of our research and development efforts is deeply rooted in the technical expertise of our personnel, an established reputation and ongoing relationship with the Warfighter, and our outward looking philosophy. And the SUCCESS continues.
NVESD is at the epicenter of championing innovative night vision technologies focused on thermal imaging (uncooled infrared detectors, 2nd and 3rd generation Forward Looking Infrared) image intensification, countermine/counter IED, and lasers.
Technical efforts at NVESD will result in the development of imaging systems that will advance the war fighting capabilities of US and Allied Forces around the world.
On the horizon are platform centric sensor suites that will improve situational awareness and allow closed-hatched hemispherical vision. These systems, designed for ground and air platforms, will provide near 360° vision integrated with threat cueing, video capturing and cueing interrogation.
The ultimate goal of night vision technology is to improve Soldier's way of life by providing affordable lightweight sensors that will lighten the Soldiers’ load, improve survivability and increase lethality.
As the US Forces transition into fighting an asymmetrical war in urban environments, FLIR technology will be developed and positioned in a manner that will greatly improve situational awareness for both air and ground platforms.