Night vision compatibility: the critical edge in defence technology

6th March 2024
Sheryl Miles

In the vast and ever-evolving field of defence technology, the capability to operate seamlessly under the cover of darkness is not just an advantage – it's a necessity.

Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS) and Night Vision Goggles (NVG) represent the pinnacle of nocturnal operational technology, allowing military personnel to conduct missions in low-light conditions effectively. However, the integration of display technology with NVIS/NVG poses unique challenges, necessitating displays that are meticulously engineered to be compliant without compromising the user's ability to navigate at night. This article looks into the background of NVIS-compliant displays.

Beacons of innovation

Beyond its traditional bastions in aviation and marine environments, NVIS is also marking its territory in civilian realms, such as hunting and home security, demonstrating its versatile prowess.

Night-vision capabilities are becoming indispensable tools in nocturnal surveillance, search and rescue missions, and covert operations. NVIS, thus, stands as a pivotal ally in ensuring safety and Relec Electronics’ NVIS compliant TFT displays are designed to navigate this delicate balance, ensuring compatibility with NVIS and NVG standards through advanced engineering and adherence to MIL-STD-3009.

Compliance with MIL-STD-3009

MIL-STD-3009 sets forth stringent guidelines for displays used in conjunction with night vision technology.

One such requirement is the precise coordinates certain colours must fall within according to CIE 1967 Chromaticity, such as white falling under u’= 0.190 & v’ = 0.490, with an acceptable radius r = 0.04.  Moreover, the standard mandates a brightness level of 0.343 cd/m2, optimising visibility for the user without compromising stealth or safety.

Engineering solutions for NVIS compatibility

Achieving NVIS compatibility within these strict parameters can be accomplished through two primary methods:

Filtering the LED backlight: this approach involves placing a filter over the LED backlight of the display to modify the emitted light spectrum, ensuring it falls within the acceptable range for NVIS/NVG use

Dual backlight system: an alternative solution is the implementation of a dual backlight system. This system includes one backlight for standard operation, and another specially designed for NVIS conditions, with the white coordinate precisely set to meet MIL-STD-3009 requirements.

Both methods require meticulous design and engineering to ensure that the final product not only meets the required standards but also provides the functionality and reliability expected in defence applications.

Specialised applications in defence

The necessity for NVIS-compliant displays is uniquely tied to defence applications, where operations often occur under the veil of night. The ability to navigate, communicate, and operate with full visual capability in low-light conditions without compromising position or safety is a critical component of modern military operations.

Commitment to NVIS-compatible technology

Relec Electronics’ range of products, from component-level TFT displays to fully ruggedised monitors and panel PCs, are designed with the challenges of defence operations in mind.

Each product is engineered to meet the rigorous standards of MIL-STD-3009, ensuring that they contribute to the user's night vision capabilities rather than detracting from them. This commitment extends beyond mere compliance; it is about providing a competitive edge in the most demanding conditions.

The path forward

As defence technology continues to advance, the integration of night vision compatibility into display systems remains a critical area of focus. Our dedication to innovation and excellence ensures that our products not only meet the current standards but also anticipate the needs of future developments in night vision technology.

By prioritising the safety, and effectiveness of the end-users, we are contributing to a future where night operations are conducted with unprecedented clarity and confidence.

Through advanced engineering and a deep understanding of the operational requirements of personnel, we are proud to offer products that stand meet the needs of users on low light level applications. As we look to the future, our commitment to supporting the heroes who operate in the shadows remains unwavering, ensuring that they are equipped with the technology needed to face the challenges of the night.

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