In an interview prior to AUSA 2016, Eric Garris, Harris Night Vision Dismount Platforms Product Line Manager & Chief Technologist, informed MT on the new F5032 Lightweight Night Vision Binocular.
MT: How will your new NVG enable armed forces to conduct critical missions during nighttime/in dark environment?
Harris: The F5032 is a lighter weight NV binocular allowing for a longer mission with less stress on the soldier using them. They also have a very close focus range with a minimum of 25cm allowing users to more easily conduct near-eye functions such as map reading, IV insert on a wounded Soldier, weapon repair or radio operation. The binocular also features fixed or adjustable diopter lenses. Each user can adjust for the setting that fits them best as one size does not fit all, eliminating the need for a particular goggle to be issued to a specific soldier. It also allows for adjustments over a long mission to account for eye strain. The goggle is also equipped with an integrated forward projecting LED infrared (IR) illuminator and indicator that can be turned on or off as the mission requirements dictate. This eliminates the need for a separate illuminator. Finally, the new goggle features hot swappable image intensifier (I2) modules. Our standard I2 tube package can be easily removed and replaced using basic tools. This can be done because the tube is not bonded in place, but held in place by retaining clamps in the device housing.
MT: Please explain the tube swapping procedure and why this is being done.
Harris: Process similar to most fielded I2 goggles today to be able to use standard tubes with just a Hoffman 126 test set. No specialty equipment required or any bonded on materials to the tube that can complicate maintenance.
MT: SWaP is critical. Was this taken into account when creating the new NVG, and did you also take cost into account?
Harris: The F5032 lowers the soldier's overall size/weight/power burden allowing operators to carry out a wider array of missions more effectively with less fatigue.
MT: What is the weight and the Field of View (FoV) of the F5032?
Harris: Weight is <500g for fixed diopter, FOV=40° nominal.
MT: Image intensifier P-45 phosphor screen? Gen 3?
Harris: This goggle can be used with either the green or white phosphor screen depending on user preference. This is a Gen 3 goggle.
MT: How much iR&D was spend on this, or was this funded by the government?
Harris: While we cannot specifically say what the amount of IR&D was for this goggle, we can say that this is a Harris funded product.
MT: How can your new NVG be integrated to become part of a complete soldier system?
Harris: Harris is currently working on technologies to link the F5032 into our Integrated Soldier System offering with overlay capability.
MT: This means that the F5032 currently does not offer overlay/fusion technology?
Harris: Not currently integrated, although investigating options for overlay capability.
MT: What markets will you target mainly with this? Will it be offered internationally?
Harris: Focus on SOCOM as well as Army organisations both US and international.
MT: Thank you.