Limited User Evaluation of Enhanced Night Vision Goggles

Report No. ARL-TR-3536
Authors: Charles C. Bonnett, Elizabeth S. Redden, and Christian B. Carstens
Date/Pages: June 2005; 120 pages
Abstract: The Human Research and Engineering Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory conducted an experiment to evaluate a prototype enhanced night vision goggle (ENVG), which combines thermal and image intensification (I2) capability. Monocular and biocular I2 night vision devices (NVDs) provided baseline performance measures. The experiment was executed over a period of four weeks, with one infantry squad per week acting as participants. The exercises included a wide range of environments to enable a comprehensive assessment of features. These included open field target detection trials with and without smoke, woodland patrolling and target detection trials with and without smoke, woodland individual movement techniques (IMT) course trials, military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) IMT course trials, MOUT target detection trials with and without smoke, and tunnel clearing course trials. A human factors engineering evaluation of the ENVG was also performed. Results indicated that the fused NVD enhanced target detection capability, especially through obscurants, without interfering with movement through infantry terrain. Specifically, results indicated that the ENVG significantly increased the ability of the Soldiers to detect targets in an open field both during smoke and no-smoke conditions. Fusion technology diminished the negative impact on target detection when smoke was introduced. In the woodland environment, effective fusion did not interfere with cross-country movement times and increased the range at which thermal and human targets were detected. Deep shadows, camouflage, and smoke did not mask targets when the thermal overlay was present. In the MOUT setting, fusion provided significantly greater target detection during smoke conditions than was provided by the I2 baseline devices.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: June 1, 2005