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ASU's new and improved night vision goggle (NVG) helmet mounts and battery packs

Lighter, better NVG tech

James Careless | August 15, 2016

Estimated reading time 6 minutes, 18 seconds.

Customers have spoken, and Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) has listened. The company unveiled its substantially improved night vision goggle (NVG) helmet mounts and battery packs at HAI Heli-Expo 2016 back in March, which marked the third time in three years ASU released ground-breaking technology at this annual helicopter event.

ASU's new and improved night vision goggle (NVG) helmet mounts and battery packs

“NVG technology has seen great leaps in the past 30 years, as far as the actual goggles go, but much of the accompanying technology has remained stuck in the 1980s,” said ASU president Jim Winkel. “It is our mission at ASU to continue advancing NVG technology in all aspects, which is why we partnered with Wilcox Industries and have redesigned NVG helmet mounts and battery packs. Both are now much lighter, smaller, more durable, and ergonomically designed to work within the rigors of the helicopter environment. They have also been designed to be repairable, which is another great attribute of these new products.”

ASU’s redesigned NVG helmet mount and battery packs also exceed the minimum required for DO-275 and TSO-C164 NVG standards.

“Our goal is to create the best possible technology we can, not just stay within the rules,” said Winkel. “Our clients deserve the very best, which is why our new NVG helmet mounts and battery packs are built beyond what the rules require.”

The result: ASU’s new NVG helmet mount and battery packs are a next generation advance.

ASU believes there are a number of reasons why 1980s legacy NVG helmet mounts are problematic in the 21st century. “The materials from which older mounts were traditionally made are heavier and larger than they need to be today,” said Michael Atwood, ASU’s founder and chief executive officer. “With enhanced thermal plastic, we have made a cutting-edge NVG mount that is lighter and smaller, which is vitally important to aircrew. Every bit of weight that you add to a helmet adds to the load on their neck and shoulders. Less weight means less strain and less fatigue.”

ASU’s new NVG helmet mount — which has already been flight-tested — is designed to be adjustable and to work with a number of helmet models, including those used by military pilots and air medic crews. Winkel said one of the problems with some of the older NVG mounts was that they were only designed to work with one type of helmet.

“Then there could be problems with the mount not providing enough height to allow the goggle-wearer to use their goggles comfortably–or, in some cases, even lock them in place,” he said.

ASU's redesigned NVG helmet mount and battery packs also exceed the minimum required for DO-275 and TSO-C164 NVG standards.

 

ASU’s new NVG helmet mount is also easier to attach and remove from the wearer’s helmet. “This addresses issues with the original mount, which could be difficult for flight nurses wearing latex gloves to manipulate,” said Hannah Gordon, ASU’s vice president of administration. “Our new model is designed for ease of use even when wearing gloves, so that the units can be adjusted as needed in all conditions.”

Collectively, the improvements in ASU’s new NVG mount address customer concerns about traditional NVG mounts and their many shortfalls. Rather than pretend that “business as usual” should be the status quo, ASU has come up with a helmet mount that solves many problems for its users in a lighter, smaller, and more durable package.

A similar logic has guided the development of ASU’s new NVG battery pack. Like the helmet mount, the new NVG battery pack is smaller and lighter, using enhanced thermal plastic to provide the necessary strength for this demanding application.

“We have made many improvements to the current battery pack design,” said Dr. Joseph Estrera, ASU’s chief technology officer. “For instance, we have eliminated the trays that are used by traditional NVG batteries. We have also made the doors on these units more robust, yet less difficult to open and close, even while in flight with gloves on.

“The new battery pack is also easier to attach and remove from helmets, and are backwards-compatible with older NVG units. This backwards-compatible feature is also true for the new mount as well.”

Together, ASU’s improved NVG helmet mount and battery pack are truly good news for any NVG users. “We plan to put both products through the necessary testing, certifications, and production ramp-up during 2016,” said Winkel. “Assuming all goes to plan, NVG users should be able to purchase both units soon after that, potentially in early fall 2016.”

ASU staff members pose for a photo

Despite its constant research into better, more capable NVG products, ASU will never swerve from its commitment to full turn-key service and support for its customers. “We will always offer end-to-end solutions to the people we serve, from providing night vision goggles and aircraft modification, to pilot training and endorsement, plus after-sales service on the goggles and their associated equipment,” said Winkel. “A lot of companies do one part or another of this process, but none can match ASU’s ability to do it all, and do it well.”

www.asu-nvg.com
208-426-8117

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