Marines look to L3Harris for updated night-vision goggles with thermal imaging and light amplification

Sept. 9, 2019
The SBNVG is expected to be lighter than the current system, and give Marines better depth perception when they during maneuvers.

QUANTICO MARINE BASE, Va. – Night vision experts at the L3Harris Technologies Inc. Night Vision segment in Roanoke, Va., will supply the U.S. Marine Corps with an updated helmet-mounted night vision system that combines thermal imaging and light amplification under terms of a quarter-billion-dollar contract.

Officials of the Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico Marine Base, Va., announced a $249 million five-year contract Friday for the Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle (SBNVG), which enhances the infantry’s lethality and situational awareness in reduced visibility.

The SBNVG is expected to be lighter than the current system, and give Marines better depth perception when they during maneuvers, Marine Corps Systems Command officials say. The SBNVG will combine longwave infrared thermal imaging with light-amplification technologies.

Related: Army awards $391.8 million contract to L-3 to build ENVG-B night vision electro-optical binoculars

The contract goes to the former Harris Corp. Night Vision segment in Roanoke, Va. Harris Corp. and L-3 Technologies completed a merger last June to become L3Harris Technologies Inc. The merged company has agreed to sell the night vision segment to Elbit Systems of America in Merrimack, N.H., a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd. in Haifa, Israel, so ultimately the contract will go to Elbit.

The SBNVG is a commercial item purchase that includes a binocular image intensifier night vision goggle with a modular uncooled thermal imaging sensor, a carrying case, a dual-power cable, an associated external power supply, a helmet mounting system, and operator manual.

L3Harris Technologies will deliver 20 complete systems by 7 Oct. 2019, and another 650 complete systems by early January. After that the company will deliver 200 complete SBNVG systems per month. Ultimately the Marines plan to buy about 16,000 SBNVG systems.

Related: EO/IR sensors boost situational awareness

The formal solicitation for the Marine Corps SBNVG was released last April. Before that, Marines tested candidate systems at Camp Lejeune, N.C., to teach infantry warfighters about the operations, characteristics, maintenance, and use of the new devices.

The system combines several technologies to enhance the infantry warfighter's capabilities in low-light and degraded-visibility conditions. Light amplification helps illuminate targets at night, thermal imaging enhances vision in smoke and other obscurants, and the binocular design enhance the warfighter's depth perception.

On this contract L3Harris -- and ultimately Elbit Systems of America -- will do the work in Roanoke, Va., and should be finished by September 2024. For more information contact L3Harris Technologies online at, Elbit Systems of America at, or Marine Corps Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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