Night turns into day: Army researchers enable night lethality

In complete dark from significant standoff, Soldiers use medium wave infrared, or MWIR, technology to turn night into day. (U.S. Army photo)

In complete dark from significant standoff, Soldiers use medium wave infrared, or MWIR, technology to turn night into day. (U.S. Army photo)

By Kim Bell, CERDEC NVESD Public Affairs

In science fiction, technology problems are solved with the stroke of a writer’s pen. In reality, science and technology research takes time and a lot of effort.

“If you’ve seen the movie Predator, you’ve seen a perfect illustration of the process of lethality,” said Dr. Don Reago, director of the Night Vision Electronics Sensors Directorate of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center at Fort Belvoir, Va. “First, you must identify your target and if in fact it is a target, then you can move in and eliminate the threat.”

In the movie, the predator identifies targets using thermal technology and deducing whether or not they are carrying weapons.

“If potential targets were unarmed they went unharmed, much like how our warfighters operate at present,” Reago said. “Today, the Army’s goal is to improve situational awareness for Soldiers, resulting in increased survivability, decreased civilian casualties and accurate lethality when necessary.”

At NVESD, Army researchers are developing sensors, like the thermal sensors from Predator, as well as image intensification.

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