FN Herstal

Archive for April, 2010

Night Vision for Everyone

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Night Vision for Everyone!According to an article in Advanced Materials, DARPA funded research at the U. of Florida has adapted technology regularly found in flat-screen OLED televisions to create a thin film that turns any infrared signal into visible light. This is exciting news for the consumer base is that such cheap night vision could be integrated into everything from car windshields to plate glass windows to cell phone cameras as well eyewear. For the warfighter, this could also be a boon, as eye pro could pull double duty as night vision and be even more widely available.

Traditional night vision systems rely on a vacuum but new thin-film night vision requires no vacuum but instead use several layers of energy-efficient OLEDs to convert infrared light to the visible spectrum. In this case it is seven separate layers of OLEDs that detect IR light as it enters, generating a charge of three to five volts then amplifies the signal as it passes through the additional layers. This process converts the light to the visible spectrum, producing a green-lit picture similar to that of existing night vision tech. What makes this new technology so special is that a night vision device might weigh less than a quarter of a pound, with the actual working bits being only a few microns thick.

The proof of concept for the technology is only about one square centimeter, but researchers think they could scale the concept to a usable device like a car windshield or cell phone camera within just 18 months.

ENVG Image Photo PEO-SoldierTruthfully, these are the things that keep me up at night. Sure, the technology can easily be applied to both mil and commercially items to improve night vision at a lower cost but ultimately that’s the problem isn’t it? If everyone can afford night vision and it is built-in to common everyday items then it isn’t special anymore and it chips away at that “Owning the Night” edge we have prided ourselves on for the last 30 years or so. We want technologies like this to be special. Our enemies purchase any technology from the open market that they can use to close the gap between them and us. Fortunately, our tech base is hard at work fielding and improving on new systems that fuse night vision and IR sensors (see photo). For example, the AN/PSQ-20 Enhanced Night Vision Goggle is a helmet-mounted passive Image Intensification (I2) and thermal device and it’s developments like this that are critical to ensuring the US military maintains its warfighting edge.

Stuff Football

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Ever resorted to field expedients in order to play a game of ball? On a deployment, I once suffered a separated rib during a game of American ball played with a lightweight Gore-tex jacket stuffed into it’s pocket. Ah, the memories. As one of my friends recently pointed out, these days with all of the MWR in country you don’t have to use broken up pallets and a ball of duct tape to play softball but something as simple as the Stuff Football from Granite Gear Tactical is a great addition to the pack. It’s football shape features a low profile zipper where the laces usually are, allowing it to pull double duty as a stuff sack. At 1.3 ounces it’s light enough to keep in the pack and while it isn’t a full-size ball, it is pliant, allowing a firm grip and is perfect for impromptu games at an Intermediate Staging Base or just out in the quad on the weekend.

Stuff Football from Granite Gear Tactical

I first saw this at the SpecOps Warfighter Expo East 2010 in Fayetteville, North Carolina earlier this month and was able to purchase one at Extreme Outfitters in Jacksonville a week later. The Stuff Football is Made in the USA from 500D Cordura and available in Coyote as well as UCP. Hands down, users prefer the UCP as it sticks out during play or when being retrieved after a fumble. It is also available in assorted non-tactical colors (yes they do actually exist) but specify the color you need (Coyote or UCP) in the comments at check out.

To order click here.

Combat and Survival

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Combat and Survival April 2010We have been Combat and Survival readers since the late 80s. While it has gone through a change or two over the years it remains the best source of information on UK ground force developments and tactical products. The April 2010 issue on US news stands now, has some great coverage including exclusive photos of UCP-D taken by correspondent Carl Schulze in Afghanistan. I recommend you check it out.

www.combatandsurvival.com

Mystery Ranch WELBE

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Imagine a NICE frame and an ILBE had a baby. Well they did and it is called the Working External Load Bearing Equipment or WELBE. Unveiled last week at Marine South, the WELBE is the brain child of Mystery ranch founder Dana Gleason. It takes advantage of the NICE frame’s external design and Bolstered Ventilation System (BVS) technology to keep the load stable even wearing armor with a rear plate.

Mystery Ranch WELBE

Game changing? Quite possibly. The Marine Corps continues to browse for a new pack and the industry is abuzz with speculation over what direction they will go. While the Marines like the ILBE, it was designed before armor with an integrated rear plate was standard issue. The interface between armor and pack bag needs some improvement and the WELBE may be just the solution. Not only would it allow the modification of the thousands and thousands of packs already in service, specialized pack bags could be also fitted to the WELBE. Additionally, odd shaped loads can be carried when the WELBE is used as a stand alone mode in a manner like the NICE frame. The ILBE pack is an Arc’teryx design manufactured by Propper. A move to modify in service packs would be good for both companies as the ILBE would remain in service longer and the Marines would be more likely to purchase more of the packs in the future.

An added bonus for the market is that the WELBE is also compatible with the Canadian issue pack which suffers from the same issue as the USMC’s ILBE.

Mystery Ranch

Canadians Testing Camo Boots

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Temperate Combat Boot in CADPAT TW

Over the past several years we have seen numerous images of boots printed in CADPAT TW but now they are finally undergoing a test to determine the best color scheme for Canadian military footwear. Presently, DND has pitted CADPAT TW against the solid DND Maxi-Brown in a large-scale user wear trial to verify whether or not the latest version of the Temperate Combat Boot passes user acceptance for comfort and durability. A visual detection test will be conducted later this year to determine which version (CADPAT or Maxi-Brown) performs better in term of increasing soldier survivability through reducing their visual signature. Once the results of the user wear trial and visual detection test are compiled, the final version will be put to contract sometime in the 2011-2013 time frame.

Don't let the USAF see this!

Temperate Combat Boot in Maxi-Brown

All photos Canadian DND

Nice Pants

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Notice the pants? You were probably too busy watching her kick ass on that run but Vertx brand is now sponsoring Julie Golob who has won 11 World, 17 US National, over 70 championship titles in State, Regional and International competitions.

Check out her website for full info: www.juliegolob.com And don’t forget that Vertx pants are now available in Men’s as well as Women’s sizes. www.wearvertx.com

I Spy With My Little Eye

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Something that begins with the letter “R” as in “Rail Panel Cover”. As you can see it is a two piece panel and these are the first shots out of the mold. Unfortunately, we can’t way where the pic came from or who will be selling these babies but they are coming, by early summer. Stay tuned for more details.

The Mysterious Two-Piece Rail Panel Cover

The Mysterious Two-Piece Rail Panel Cover

The Mysterious Two-Piece Rail Panel Cover

Nerf Mk 19

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

This Nerf version of the Mk 19 AGL took an astonishing 4-1/2 years to build. Powered by compressed air the gun by itself weighs 45 pounds and with the box, belt, battery, and air tanks is comes in at over 100.