DRS Technologies, Inc., a Finmeccanica Company, announced the Army Test and Evaluation Command identified DRS' Driver's Vision Enhancer Wide (DVE Wide) as one of only 12 technologies out of a field of 47, to earn its highest designation of "Promising Solution."
The DVE Wide, developed and manufactured by the Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) Group of DRS, was also awarded a five-star rating from Army Times.
RSTA's DVE Wide thermal camera creates a sharp thermal image to provide a 107º x 30º field of view and lets the driver pan through the full 107º to see both sides of the road ahead. The DVE Wide also adds wheel width indicators to the video image to help identify any potential obstacles and to allow the driver to see where the vehicle is in relation to the road.
Troops that drive MRAPs, Bradleys, Strykers and other armoured fighting vehicles may navigate these vehicles along the edges of steep cliffs and other hazards while using a thermal imager with only a field of view of 40º wide x 30º vertically. The DVE Wide which offers a 107º x 30º field of view is a "drop-in" replacement for the standard DVE systems, and can utilise existing cabling and displays making it a cost-effective solution that requires minimal training for troops to use the system effectively.
Developed and manufactured by the RSTA Group, the DVE Wide was tested by soldiers from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment over a four-week period during the rugged Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) Spiral G exercises at Fort Benning, Georgia.
AEWE is designed to examine new technologies in real-world situations to help provide the Army with the best technology available. During hours of darkness, troops participating in AEWE executed 16 missions with two Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles (MATVs). The DVE Wide provided additional integrated vehicle capability, increasing situational awareness to allow safer vehicle operation in virtually all light and weather conditions.
RSTA personnel who trained soldiers on the DVE Wide during AEWE, reported the visual indicators showing the vehicle width on the forward and reversing cameras was the biggest benefit. This feature greatly improved the driver's ability to independently manoeuvre the vehicle in confined spaces, mitigating the need to dismount a ground guide during tactical operations. The indicators also allowed drivers to scan beyond the road for possible threats and helped identify road edges when dust would have otherwise blocked a clear vision.
"While gaining the Army's top rating during realistic operations is gratifying, we are equally thankful for the significant feedback our new system has received from the soldiers who evaluated it," said RSTA President Terry Murphy. "These troops had extensive in-theatre combat experience with our current fielded DVE sensor on various vehicle platforms. Their feedback is essential and will help RSTA ensure our DVE Wide meets the needs of the Warfighter and mission."