Comparison of night vision technology for close-quarters combat operations: how field of view impacts live-fire scenarios

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Issue Date
2020-10-24
Authors
Hamilton, Joseph A.
Roush, Grant J.
Kinney, Micah J.
Suss, Joel M.
Biggs, Adam T.
Advisor
Citation

Hamilton, J.A., Roush, G., Kinney, L.M.J. et al. Comparison of Night Vision Technology for Close-Quarters Combat Operations: How Field of View Impacts Live-Fire Scenarios. Hum Factors Mech Eng Def Saf 4, 8 (2020)

Abstract

As early as the Vietnam War, the United States Military has employed various forms of night vision goggles (NVGs) to enhance warfighter capability under low light conditions. In recent years, the most common form of NVGs used by US ground forces has been the binocular or “dual tube” variety, such as the AN/PVS-15 and AN/PVS-31A. Compared to binocular NVGs, modern panoramic night vision goggles (PNVG), such as the GPNVG-18, provide potential benefits by more than doubling the field of view. This capability could be particularly useful in urban environments and specifically during room-clearing operations. However, previous human performance studies with NVGs have largely focused on aviation operations rather than ground forces undertaking a close-combat mission set. Combined with the emerging technology of the PNVG, and the lack of live fire during testing, there is little empirical evidence about the relative human performance benefits of having a wider field of view during close-combat operations. The current investigation addressed this issue by examining how wider peripheral vision impacted the process of dynamic room entries. Using highly trained military operators, live ammunition, and three separate live-fire room-clearing scenarios, we examined performance differences between the current technology in binocular and panoramic NVGs. Our results suggest that soldiers cleared rooms significantly faster when using PNVG than when using binocular NVGs. The largest benefit occurred for engaging targets placed in the extreme corners of rooms. Applications and trade-offs are discussed along with the need for increased human performance studies addressing close combat under NVGs.

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