Quarterly Newsletter

Connecting ANVM Members, their Customers and Friends of Night Vision
Q2/2021                                                                     30 June 2021
Looking Ahead ...
... by John Domalski, President. Over the past three months only a little additional clarity has been achieved with respect to future activities of the Association. I attribute this to continuation of "work from home" by the Government and difficulty with respect to making connections at Naval Surface Warfare Center/Crane (NSWC/Crane). The new information that has become available is explained below.
  1. 2021 Annual Meeting. We are still planning to hold a live meeting at the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Arlington, VA on Thursday, 2 December 2021. Additionally, we plan to "transmit" the meeting virtually via Microsoft Teams or as a webinar. This combination will give us the best of both worlds—great networking at the live event and increased participation via either M/S Teams or the webinar.

    I am in the process of identifying potential speakers for the meeting. New for 2021, I am trying to get substantial participation from NSWC/Crane. We have had NSWC/Crane speakers in the past in 2000, 2001, 2002 and most recently in 2019. I have received a tentative commitment from Dr. Joshua Borneman, Chief Scientist within the EO/IR Science & Technology Branch, to provide an overview of night vision R&D at NSWC/Crane. I am also trying to get Mr. Jason Mathis, Chief of the Expeditionary EO Systems Branch to speak about ongoing and future procurement activities, and Dr. Tim Morgan to provide an update on the I Cubed Tube he spoke about in 2019. (I have been told that, indeed, progress has been made on this potentially revolutionary device.)

    As usual, other speakers will come from Army operational requirements, R&D, budgeting and program management organizations. Hopefully some of these will come from the HQ Department of the Army and HQ Special Operations Command levels. (Just before the deadline for this newsletter, I received a "yes" from COL Chris Schneider regarding speaking to us. He is currently serving as the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management within the Office of Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.)

    Finally with respect to other speakers, if there is someone in particular you would like to hear from, please provide their names, titles and contact information to me via either email, text or voice at or 540-798-7434.
  1. Congressional Outreach Event. Nothing new to report; still hoping to resume this event in 2022 if the COVID situation allows and more than 50% of member companies want to hold it. I will ask Board of Directors members to vote on this question via email in October. If the decision is positive, I will request Congressional liaison individuals from member companies be involved in all aspects of planning for this event. I consider their participation to be very important for the success of this event.
  1. Outreach Event at NVESD, Fort Belvoir. There is still a lot of work-from-home going on with respect to NVESD employees. The Director's Office is attempting to be at least partially staffed every day, but that does not apply to all employees. (In general, I am also hearing that the Federal Government, top down, is still encouraging work-from-home.) Regarding the outreach event, it is likely that a decision will not be made until about September. If the decision is "yes," the event would likely be held in mid/late October or November. I am staying in contact with NVESD and as soon as a decision is made, I will advise all members.
  1. Outreach Event at NSWC/Crane. Nothing new to report on this topic. In fact, I am having no success at all in contacting Dr. Tim Morgan who spoke briefly about this event at our 2020 Annual Meeting last December. If anyone has a current relationship with Dr. Morgan, ask him to please contact me.
  1. Hall of Fame. So far, two nominations have been received—Mr. Mike Iosue and Mr. Mike Atwood—and both have been approved by the evaluation committee. Members will vote on both nominations for induction into the Hall of Fame at the December 2021 Annual Meeting. It takes approval of 75% of member companies for actual induction to take place. There is still time to evaluate additional nominations so if you would like to make one, please contact me for an application.
  1. Other Events. It appears that COVID is retreating so hopefully we can get back to normal business in the near future. If anyone has ideas for additional activities beyond those discussed above, please let ne know. ANVM exists to serve its members so if there is anything the Association could do to better serve your company, please provide it for consideration.
  1. Old Night Vision Equipment. I am attempting to work with the National Museum of the U.S. Army to create a night vision exhibit at the museum. If there are old pieces of night vision equipment, including prototypes, being stored in the back closets and file cabinets of your factories and these items are simply gathering dust, please let me know. These items could serve as the foundation of the exhibit. I will make sure that all donors of this equipment will receive proper recognition.
Feature Story
Golden Rules of Business

Hoffman Engineering and Licentia Arms collaborated on this piece, telling the decades old story of good business practices in action! Customer, Communication and Teamwork.

Read on...

A special thanks to James Coffman and Tyler Roberts for contributing to this story.
Member News
Important Transitions at Photonis

Jim Brennan retired and Sean Kirk was promoted to VP of Night Vision Systems. Photonis also promoted Dr. Raquel Ortega to VP of Night Vision Technologies. Joining Photonis as Sales Manager, Night Vision Systems, is Mr. Philip Otto. ANVM extends heartfelt congratulations to Jim, Sean, Raquel and Philip.

The following press releases provide additional information on these important moves:

PEO Soldier Announces IVAS Contract Award

Congratulations to Microsoft and PEO Soldier IVAS in achieving this significant milestone. Preceding contract award to this non-traditional defense contractor, were accelerated prototype system development using innovative technology. This award has the potential to become the single largest contract in the history of DOD night vision -- while greatly enhancing the capabilities of our soldiers to fight, rehearse and train with a single system.

Learn more from the IVAS Production Contract Award.

A very hearty welcome to our newest member!

ANVM continues to grow and is pleased to welcome Tactical Night Vision to our family. We now have 29 members in our association.

To learn more about our new arrival, please read below and visit their website and Instagram.

Thank you all for welcoming us to the Association of United States Night Vision Manufacturers! We are very pleased to have the opportunity, and we look forward to a bright future as a member of the Association, strengthening existing relationships and forging new ones with all of you!

For those that are unfamiliar with TNVC, Tactical Night Vision Company was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Redlands, California. Since then, we have grown tremendously, and already have strong relationships with many Association Members. TNVC is a Veteran-Owned Small Business, and many of our key staff members are military or law enforcement veterans with professional end-user experience who have used night vision, thermal, and visual augmentations systems technology in the field and in combat. At TNVC our core mission has always been to educate, inform, and train customers first, whether they are military, law enforcement, hunters or civilian enthusiasts, and believe that the well-educated customer is our most valuable asset.

Our dedication to training and education allows us to provide cradle-to-grave support to customers, ranging from initial education and familiarization, product selection, assembly, and delivery, to new equipment fielding, initial operational training, and sustainment training for a wide range of audiences. Our staff's real-world experience also allows us to provide customized solutions, whether in the form of existing products or research and development and the creation of brand new product solutions to meet the individual needs of customers, end-users, and organizations.

Instagram: tnvc_inc

Thank you again, and we look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with the Association and all the membership and seeing you at the 2021 Annual Meeting!

Association News

We recently dusted off our ANVM archives, and uncovered the very first Newsletter. For some, reading the inaugural newsletter will be a trip down memory lane. With that said, many of you reading this will have no historical context of the formation of our association, and may discover the sense of urgency compelling ANVM in the early days. Notice the strong industrial base collaboration as DOD's night vision budgets were being slashed. Please enjoy this initial (3-page) newsletter, written sometime in 1981.
Looking Back ...
The AN/AVS-6 Aviators Night Vision Imaging System (ANVIS) has been the centerpiece of U.S. Armed Forces helicopter night vision for nearly the past 40 years. The AN/AVS-9 (a very close derivative of the ANVIS) has also been a major contributor to the success of U.S. fixed-wing night aviation. Together, more than 40,000 of these goggles have been fielded. While ground night vision goggles have seen a succession of different designs over the same time period, ANVIS has remained a constant. Even though many improvements have been made to ANVIS—including higher performance tubes--its basic design has remained unchanged. It simply causes one to wonder; what is it about this workhorse night vision goggle that has kept it viable for so long?

It all began just before Christmas 1979 with award of the ANVIS development contract to the Optical Division of Bell & Howell, Inc. of Chicago, IL. The $1.5 million contract was won in what was described as a stiff competition that also involved ITT, Kodak, Polaroid and Varian. Of these companies, Kodak and Polaroid are no longer involved in night vision; ITT is now operating as Elbit Systems of America and Varian is known as Intevac Photonics. Bell & Howell also is no longer in the night vision business, but its impact on night aviation cannot be denied.

The development program ran from December 1979 to September 1982 when the first production contracts were awarded. The development program was a joint effort with B&H being joined by the Army's Night Vision & Electro-Optics Laboratory. Key individuals from these organizations were Albert Efkeman who was the lead engineer at B&H, and Donald Jenkins who was the contract monitor at NV&EOL.

I had the opportunity to discuss ANVIS development with Mr. Efkeman in late March of this year. He is living in Roanoke, VA after retiring from ITT Night Vision in September 2007. One of the first things we discussed was system weight. He said that at the beginning of development, the aeromedical community advised that the SPH-4 helmet used by Army aviators, by itself, was already one pound heavier than was considered safe in the event of a crash. ANVIS, therefore, could not weigh more than negative one pound or it would also be deemed unsafe. This absurd "requirement" (undoubtedly not represented by specifications included in the RFP) was quickly dismissed by Army Aviation operational leadership which understood the value of a new, aviation-specific, Generation III night vision goggle and wanted it.

With weight being so important, though, it was planned for ANVIS to incorporate housings, mechanical parts and optics all made of plastic. Use of plastic was revolutionary at the time as the earlier AN/PVS-5 NVG had an aluminum housing and glass lenses. The plastic housings and mechanical parts remained in the final design, but both the objective and eyepiece lenses were eventually changed to a new lightweight glass just becoming available from Schott Optical Glass Corp.

The weight issue was further addressed by placing the ANVIS battery pack at the rear of the helmet thereby using it to help offset the weight of the binocular at the front of the helmet.

According to Mr. Efkeman, however, the most challenging aspect of the ANVIS design was mounting the binocular on the helmet. In addition to properly locating the binocular in front of the aviator's eyes, the helmet mount also needed to:
  • enable flip-up of the binocular
  • turn off the binocular when it was flipped up and turn it back on when flipped down
  • enable quick manual detachment of the binocular from the helmet
  • and, in the event of a crash with the binocular still attached to the helmet, enable automatic detachment upon impact.
B&H pursued three different approaches for the helmet mount and in the end, all requirements were met.

Another new ANVIS design feature was the "minus blue" filter contained in each objective lens. These filters prevent all light shorter than 0.65 micron wavelength from entering the lenses. This feature enables cockpits to be illuminated with blue light, and due to the ability of aviators to look under the ANVIS eyepieces, they are able to see all cockpit instrumentation.

This brief write-up covers only some of the key design challenges ANVIS development encountered (the ones that are most easily understood by not highly trained optical engineers). Other challenges included: diopter adjustment range, divergence and dipvergence limits and the need for sliding focus adjustments on all lenses to meet collimation requirements. Again, all of these were met.

As has been borne out by its operational success, ANVIS represents a truly innovative design and one that has stood the test of time for almost 40 years.         -- John Domalski 
Association of United States Night Vision Manufacturers
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