June 20. 2018 10:21PM

Night vision manufacturer finalizes $391 million deal with Army

Union Leader correspondent

L3 Technologies in Londonderry is hiring for more than 200 positions. (Ryan Lessard/Union Leader Correspondent)

LONDONDERRY — L3 Technologies has entered into a $391 million contract with the Department of Defense to supply the U.S. Army with new advanced night-vision equipment.

Todd Stirtzinger, the president of L3 Warrior Sensor Systems in Londonderry, said the contract covers the next three years. The exact number of products is undetermined.

They’ll be delivering what’s called the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle — Binocular (ENVG- B) system, which comes with a number of significant upgrades.

Currently, most of the Army uses a single-eye monocular device, though Stirtzinger said there are some Special Forces units that have binocular devices.

He said the capabilities of these next generation devices ordered by the Army are beyond what any other system in use today has.

In addition to the new industry standard white phosphor night vision (which produces a black and white image rather than the old greenish hue), the goggles also have a separate digital channel for thermal sensors, which can overlay a heat signature to the soldier’s field of vision.

Also new is a wireless networking capability that enables a soldier to look through a digital display through the goggles to read data from their standard issue Nett Warrior tablets or look through the sight of their gun without putting their eye up to the sight.

“Effectively, we turn that new goggle into a heads up display,” Stirtzinger said.

Generally, when soldiers need to look through their gun sights today, they would need to flip their goggles up first, he said.

The goggles have a mount that attaches to the soldier’s helmets with ease, and there are hinges so they can be flipped up without being removed.

Stirtzinger said the Army contract is the biggest contract for the Londonderry company in the first six months of this year. It’s also the biggest one it has ever received from the Army, which he said has shown a lot of confidence in the company.

They’ve already hired about 200 people in the past year and have requisitions open for over 200 more.

“It is really an exciting time,” he said.

The Londonderry facility currently employs 894 people.

They’ll be hosting job fairs in the local communities and reaching out to local colleges and universities with the best optics engineering programs.

Earlier this month, the company also announced contracts to supply fusion night vision goggles to the Italian Ministry of Defense and panoramic (four-channel) night vision goggles to the Korean National Police Agency. Stirtzinger said he could not yet comment on the dollar amount of those contracts.