Massachusetts-based FLIR Systems last week pulled down a half-billion-dollar Pentagon contract for advanced weapon sights.
Based in North Billerica, just north of Boston, FLIR was awarded a $500,219,123 firm-fixed-price contract by the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, for what is billed as the Family of Weapons Sights-Individual. When coupled with the new ENVG-B night-vision goggles, the FWS-I gives the user the ability to accurately engage targets via offset shooting without shouldering the weapon. This includes shooting in daylight or no-light, through smoke, and under adverse weather such as rain and fog.
"The ENVG III/FWS-I integrated solution uses a wireless connection that transmits the weapon sight’s aim point and surrounding imagery directly into the soldier’s goggle," notes the Army's Program Executive Office Soldier.
Weight on the FWS-I is under two pounds, giving an 18-degree field of view and a range of almost 1,000 meters. Runtime on a trio of AA Lithium batteries is seven hours.
"The FWS-I is mounted in front of the Soldier’s day optic on their M4, which allows you to passively engage targets in a multitude of ranges out to the max effective range of the weapon," said Major Bryan Kelso, PEO Soldier Assistant Product Manager for the ENVG-B program. "You can actually detect targets beyond 600 meters, so past where you could effectively engage with an M4."
The ENVG-B is slated to replace both the PVS 14 night vision monocular and PAS 13 thermal rifle optics. The dual thermal and infrared goggles can work with paired FWS-I sights on the user's individual weapons and can interface with a system called Nett Warrior to provide augmented reality in multiple goggles at the same time, sharing data and images with a whole squad. The full system has been tested during a Soldier Touchpoint at Aberdeen Proving Ground by members of the 101st Airborne Division.
"It's pretty cool to be able to put my head down and engage targets without actually compromising cover," said Sgt. William Williams of the 101st. "I could stay completely behind cover, my eyes and head not even looking in the direction of the target, and utilize my FWS-I pumped into the ENVG-B and effectively engage my targets that way."
According to the portfolio on the FWS-I, it can recognize a man-sized target at night to 960 meters or greater with a 70-percent probability or through smoke with a 90 percent probability at 300 meters. The sights are compatible with the Army's man-portable weapons systems, including the M4/M16 rifle families, the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, and the M136 AT4 Light Anti-Tank Weapon.
Acquired by Teledyne last year, FLIR was founded in 1978 and has been a noted supplier of a wide range of infrared imaging products, including cooled and uncooled infrared detectors, camera cores, and all-up cameras. The company has several facilities with some 3,000 employees. According to the release from Aberdeen Proving Ground, work locations and funding for the FWS-I contract will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of April 27, 2027.
In addition to FLIR's award, Leonardo DRS of Melbourne, Florida, also walked away with an FWS-I contract valued at $579.3 million, the Army announced last week.
The ENVG-B is produced by L3 Harris, and has been fielded in small numbers since 2019.