The service has stressed from the beginning that non-combat arms soldiers do not need sophisticated devices such as IVAS and ENVG-B, but maneuver officials at Fort Benning, Georgia, announced Wednesday that the Army wants to upgrade its inventory of outdated AN/PVS 14 monocular night vision devices.
"We are looking for night vision that is better than PVS 14s, not quite the ENVGs ... not quite IVAS types of things, but more focused on the logistics side of a [brigade combat team] and how they support the close-combat force," Lt. Col. Christopher Kennedy, chief of the Lethality Branch at Benning, told an audience at the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate's Industry Day. "There is going to be opportunity for night vision vendors. ... We are looking to buy tens of thousands of systems."
As part of the Army's Night Vision Modernization Strategy, the service hopes to begin buying these improved night vision devices for $6,000 to $8,000 apiece beginning in 2024, Kennedy said.
"We are calling it Night Vision Next," he said, describing how the Army plans to do a robust market survey -- "so going and saying, 'Hey, show me what you got.'"
The new devices will be for troops who support combat forces but are less likely to get into direct firefights with enemy forces, Kennedy said.
"Not that it is not intended for a firefight, but it's really intended to enable those who are going to be drivers of vehicles and those who are going to be doing some close-in logistic type things -- loading, unloading trucks; loading, unloading ammo; fueling -- different things like that while still maintaining ... a firefight capability," he explained. "This is really, truly helping someone do their job in limited visibility."
Army funding for the effort isn't budgeted until 2024, but the service could begin buying new devices sooner if the right capability becomes available, Kennedy said.