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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 8, 2021

Aviation upgrades night vision goggles

By Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Russell, MyCG Contributor

Coast Guard aviation is following the lead of the Department of Defense (DoD), and investing in more capable night vision goggles (NVG) for the fleet. These NVGs will increase the capabilities of our crews as they perform all night missions, especially the aviation use of force mission at HITRON, the rotary wing air intercept mission in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and shipboard deployments. 

The AN/AVS-9 white phosphor night vision goggles (WP-NVG) are a recent upgrade to the current generation of the ANVIS-9 NVG platform Coast Guard aircrews currently use. WP-NVG improvements consist of an improved image intensifier tube and is fully interchangeable with the legacy image intensifier tubes in current USCG aviation NVGs. This new technology provides improved resolution and a substantially higher figure of merit (FOM) (line pairs per millimeter x signal-to noise ratio) than the current ANVIS-9 system.  

The U.S. Army’s Aviation Research Lab (USAARL) and the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command Flight Test Squadron conducted extensive testing on WP-NVGs based on demand from special operations aviation communities for improved night vision systems and the overwhelming justification stems from user surveys indicating increased resolution, comfort, and ability to identify objects.

Additional testing conducted by Coast Guard crews agreed with the DoD testers which ultimately led to the recapitalization of the fleet. The Aviation Logistics Center Engineering Services Division is currently managing the rollout efforts for the WP-NVGs and as of mid-March, 11 units have received new intensifier tubes, with a priority being given to rotary wing assets.  The fleet transition is estimated to be complete in the fall of 2021.