Night vision technology has experienced significant advances in the last two decades. Night vision goggles
(NVGs) based on gallium arsenide (GaAs) continues to raise the bar for alternative technologies.
Resolution, gain, sensitivity have all improved; the image quality through these devices is nothing less than
incredible. Panoramic NVGs and enhanced NVGs are examples of recent advances that increase the
warfighter capabilities. Even with these advances, alternative night vision devices such as solid-state
indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) focal plane arrays are under development for helmet-mounted imaging
systems. The InGaAs imaging system offers advantages over the existing NVGs. Two key advantages are;
(1) the new system produces digital image data, and (2) the new system is sensitive to energy in the shortwave
infrared (SWIR) spectrum. While it is tempting to contrast the performance of these digital systems
to the existing NVGs, the advantage of different spectral detection bands leads to the conclusion that the
technologies are less competitive and more synergistic. It is likely, by the end of the decade, pilots within a
cockpit will use multi-band devices. As such, flight decks will need to be compatible with both NVGs and
SWIR imaging systems.
Insertion of NVGs in aircraft during the late 70's and early 80's resulted in many "lessons learned"
concerning instrument compatibility with NVGs. These "lessons learned" ultimately resulted in
specifications such as MIL-L-85762A and MIL-STD-3009. These specifications are now used throughout
industry to produce NVG-compatible illuminated instruments and displays for both military and civilian
applications. Inserting a SWIR imaging device in a cockpit will require similar consideration. A project
evaluating flight deck instrument compatibility with SWIR devices is currently ongoing; aspects of this
evaluation are described in this paper. This project is sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory
The Aerospace and Defense display industry is in the midst of converting light the sources used in AMLCD backlighting
technology from fluorescent lamps to LEDs. Although challenging, the fluorescent backlighting technology delivered
good product in high end applications. LEDs, however, have the promise of even greater efficiency and lower cost. The
history of LED backlighting is short and very dynamic; expectations are high and promises are many. It appears that for
engineers developing backlights for high performance displays life has not become easier with the change of the
technology. This paper will discuss just one of many challenges engineer's face: operation of LED backlights in high
temperature environments. It will present experimental data showing several advantages of the RGB LED technology
over other lamp technologies for high performance commercial and military application.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Display Technologies & Applications for Defense, Security, and Avionics II