Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

The Eyes Have It: New Battlefield Armor

The Eyes Have It: New Battlefield Armor

Special to the American Forces Press Service

Natick, Massachusetts -- (AFPS) January 22, 2002 -- The new, streamlined Military Eye Protection System developed at the Army Soldier Systems Center here is about to replace a grab bag of current protective eyewear.

Sgt. Thomas Preston wears the new Military Eye Protection System's spectacles with sunglass lenses. US Army Photo

The Army and Marine Corps have used a combination of the Ballistic/Laser Protective Spectacles; Special Protective Eyewear, Cylindrical System; and Sun, Wind and Dust Goggles since the mid-1990s to shield troops from eye injury.

The new gear increases protection and works with half the number of interchangeable lenses needed by today's lineup. Soon, troops will have a system in sleek goggles or spectacles and a one set of interchangeable lenses that can fit both.

"Soldier acceptability is tough," said Michelle Markey, project officer at Product Manager-Soldier Equipment. "It is difficult to get soldiers to wear eye protection, especially those who are not used to wearing glasses. They are more likely to wear their eye protection if it is something they look good in, and I think these goggles and spectacles will be well-accepted."

Of course, there's more than good looks and fashion at stake. An estimated 10 percent of all battlefield injuries are to the eye, and that rate has climbed steadily since the Civil War, according to project engineer Harold Moody. Explosive fragments, tree branches, blowing sand and rocks, and lasers present the major battlefield hazards to the eyes.

Loose strap ends on the MEPS goggles fasten with Velcro. US Army Photo

"These injuries are also easy to protect against using polycarbonate (plastic)," Markey said. "Our eye protection is designed to stop a .15 caliber, 5.7 grain fragment simulating a projectile traveling at 640-660 feet per second."

The new protection system carries over the lightweight, tough polycarbonate used in current protective eyewear that passed tests for ballistic resistance. But now the new spectacles expand wearers' peripheral protection. Like SPECS and BLPS, they also meet the American National Standards Institute requirements for occupational eye and face protection.

Another military requirement is protection from laser range finders and target designators.

BLPS, SPECS and SWDG each use four lenses for four purposes: clear, sunglass, three-line laser protection and two-line laser protection. When lasers are not a hazard, soldiers can use the clear lens to protect against ballistic and ultraviolet rays day or night, or use a sunglass lens during the day that adds sun glare protection.

When lasers are a danger, soldiers currently switch to a green lens that blocks two wavelengths for use in dim light or a dark lens that shields three wavelengths for use in daylight. Special coloring and coatings absorb the laser to eliminate or minimize injuries.

"The problem with (the daytime lens) is that it's dye-based and very dark. It is not suitable for use at night, which is why there is a separate two-wavelength lens, which has better transmission properties for nighttime use," Markey said. "The third wavelength wouldn't likely be used at night anyway, because it would be visible."

The new system uses two types of laser-reflective technology sandwiched between two layers of polycarbonate for durability, and it covers a wider band of near-infrared wavelength energy than the current systems. Separate day and night lenses are gone.

"We're looking at blocking broad bands of laser while minimizing the impact on color vision," Markey said. "This is critical in order to maintain the soldiers' ability to read maps and use devices such as image intensifiers. We also wanted better light transmission than the current systems and ultimately would like to have tunable laser protection that adjusts to the hazard." Other improvements are in fit, comfort and logistical efficiency.

Ballistic/Laser Protective Spectacles were designed for prescription eyeglass wearers. They were one-size-fits-all and hard to fit users properly. Special Protective Eyewear, Cylindrical System, come in two sizes for better fit, but they can be worn only by those with normal vision. Military-issued eyeglasses fit inside Sun, Wind and Dust Goggles, but often with just enough room.

The new system can be worn by anyone and comes in two spectacle sizes for an improved fit while retaining just one size of goggles. A prescription lens carrier snaps into the goggles and spectacles frames if needed.

Clear, sunglass and laser lenses, all with ballistic protection, are interchangeable between the large spectacles and goggles for simpler supply and storage. Spectacles or goggles, along with two extra lenses, are stored and carried in a rigid foam case with a green cloth cover.

The Military Eye Protection System was tested with more than 26 pieces of equipment to ensure optical and structural compatibility, Moody said.

Markey demonstrated how easily the goggles tighten and loosen for fall-to-the-chest capability, a feature important to a gunner looking through his tank or infantry vehicle's internal sights. Currently used goggles have a simple elastic strap and are stowed on the helmet, which interferes with the proper use of the tank sights, said Moody.

Goggles are undergoing user evaluation at the Marine Corps Air- Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., and both goggle and spectacle prototypes are being evaluated at Fort Campbell, Ky. Fielding is expected to begin in 2005.

(From a Soldier and Biological Chemical Command news release)

  • For more information about the Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command or the Soldier Systems Center (Natick), visit the command's Web site.
 

Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin





Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

Contact