Infantry Marines will get the chance to test the Army's new night vision goggles, which are being compared to something straight out of a video game.
Marine rifle squads will evaluate the Army's Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular, or ENVG-B, which soldiers have been using since 2019. There has been no official decision to swap the Marine Corps' Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggles for the Army gear, but tests are underway to evaluate the two systems, said Kelly Flynn, a Marine Corps Systems Command spokeswoman.
The Marine Corps currently has 195 pairs of ENVG-Bs. Soon, squads will be selected to conduct a larger user evaluation, Flynn said.
"The Marine Corps is currently working ... to develop a timeline and evaluation plan," she added.
The Marine Corps started fielding its NVGs in 2020 after signing a $250 million contract for the devices in 2019. Brig. Gen. A.J. Pasagian, head of Marine Corps Systems Command, said service leaders still believe in the goggles because it's "ready technology today."
But leathernecks are keeping a close eye on the capabilities of the Army goggle-binocular, he added. The tests are part of an effort to equip infantry Marines with lighter, state-of-the-art gear that will help them keep the edge in a fight against a more sophisticated enemy, such as Chinese or Russian troops.
Flynn said the Army's night-vision system works on a network to share data and provide a common operational picture. The Marine Corps' NVGs, however, provide "increased depth perception, improved clarity and thermal-imaging capability to detect targets at extreme darkness or through battlefield obscurants," she added.
The Marines' new NVGs combine a night-vision binocular with clip-on thermal imager. They can detect targets in very low light, bad weather and through smoke.
The Army's goggle-binocular, a wireless system with a built-in thermal imager that officials say improves marksmanship during the day and night, has generated buzz since a brigade posted a video to social media showing soldiers' view when wearing them.
"You have never seen night vision like this!" the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team tweeted in April.
The brigade's video and photos show soldiers outlined in bright, glowing detail. Weapons, vehicles, walls and terrain appear outlined in a similar light. Machine-gun fire and mortar rounds give off a vibrant blue-green light.
"We own the night," the Lancer Brigade added in a separate tweet.