Sister site Kit Up! appears to have spotted what might be these super high-tech AN/PVS-21 Low Profile Night Vision Goggles in a photo showing New Zealand Special Air Service commandos leaving the scene of yesterday’s hotel attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. While Kit Up! originalyl postulates that the NVGs look to be the panoramic QUADEYE night vision system. But on closer inspection of the goggles (shown above), it looks like the Kiwis may very well be sporting the slimmer PVS-21s.
These goggles are up to 4 inches slimmer than most NVG and incorporate a see-through, clear screen allowing the viewer to see the natural environment through a night vision display only when necissary. According to Tactical Night Vision Company’s product info:
The AN/PVS-21 uses a patented “folded optics” system that projects the night vision image into a pair of see-through optics. This means that the operator can literally see through the lenses regardless of whether or not the unit is engaged. See through optics add a whole new level of versatility. No longer does the tube control the brightness of the image. If an operator is exposed to too much ambient light, the image simply fades out and the actual scene is viewed straight through the lenses. The image appears as it normally would through a set of clear goggles because the operator is not viewing through an image intensifier. This ability greatly increases the operator’s situational awareness and makes him more combat effective because threats can be more easily engaged regardless of the lighting conditions. While PINNACLE tubes do a good job of protecting the user’s vision from changing lighting conditions, the AN/PVS-21 solves the problem in a more innovative way, providing smooth transition from dark to light. The see-through lenses also provide the most depth-perception available of any head-mounted night vision goggle.
The design also gives the wearer better peripheral vision and the ability to aim a weapon without a laser target designator, something unique to these goggles, according to TNVC:
A forward-looking round 40 degree night vision image is visible while a relatively open/un-aided view is seen around it and to the immediate peripherals. This makes rapid terrain traversing much easier.
But, the coolest feature may be the goggles’ ability to project mission info onto that see-through screen, heads-up display-style:
The LPNVG has two inputs for the optional Heads Up Display module that allows the operator to connect the 21 to any electronic device with a BNC-Out Connector, enabling real-time overlay of mission critical information onto the night vision image. This system interfaces with everything from thermal weapon sights (allowing the operator to place the weapon around a corner and engage targets without exposing himself), FLIR, PC’s (allowing real time data streaming from a laptop in the operator’s pack), and vehicle systems. The image is projected over one of the see-through lenses and can be adjusted for transparency so the operator can still see the regular night vision image through the overlay, maintaining situational awareness.
Yet another feature allows the wearer to focus the lenses for short-and-long distance viewing:
The AN/PVS-21 comes with a specially-developed, Patent Pending Refocus Ring that snaps over one of the objective lenses. The lens can flip up out of the way or be flipped down in front of the objective. This revolutionary little device will instantly refocus the objective lens to a close-in distance. The operator does not need to refocus the actual objective lens because this innovative lens does it instantly. The Refocus Lens focuses the view to within 18-24” and is extremely useful for quick radio checks, map/compass reads, weapon remedial action, emergency medical, etc. One of the most interesting abilities of the Refocus Lens is that it allows the operator to engage threats with a pistol’s iron sights.