GPNVG-18 Night vision goggles
GPNVG-18 Night vision goggles

That one night in May of 2011 changed the world by removing the filth responsible for the horrible 9/11, Osama bin Laden. Everyone knows almost everything about the courageous Seal Team 6.

That Dark night, one piece of equipment on the head of those soldiers made laden killing possible. It was the GPNVG-18 night vision goggles.

Operators from Seal Team 6 entered Osama bin Laden’s compound in the dead of night, kicking down the door.

This ensured the soldiers could have avoided fumbling around for the light switch. They possessed a decisive advantage thanks to the state-of-the-art panoramic night-vision goggles perched on their faces.

GPNVG-18 Night vision goggles (NVG) in Operation Neptune Spear.

Navy SEAL operators had access to top-secret, cutting-edge night vision technology for that mission.

It’s important to distinguish between these NVGs and the helmet-mounted FLIR systems also commonly utilized by Special Operations units. You need to know how night vision goggles function to grasp this concept.

“I set the helmet on my head and pulled down my night vision goggles, or NVGs. Unlike some conventional units, we had NVGs with four tubes instead of the usual two. This allowed us to see 120 degrees instead of just 40 degrees. The standard goggles were like looking through toilet paper tubes,” Matt Bissonette wrote in “No Easy Day,” his firsthand account of the mission to kill the terrorist mastermind.

In order to see in the dark, night vision devices use a process called “image intensification,” which takes in dim light, converts it into an electrical signal, amplifies it, and finally displays the result on a green phosphor screen.

The night vision gear is typically green, but you may be wondering why because The human visual system is remarkably good at seeing the most shades than any other color. 

Alternatively, the FLIR (Forward-looking infrared) technology creates a false-color display of the detected infrared radiation (also known as heat) signature from whatever you’re looking at without amplifying anything. But why should you know how both systems work? 

The point is that the two technologies work well together. Night vision allows for long-range spotting in normal conditions, and IR improves that ability when there isn’t much light around or when fog, dust, buildings, or whatever hides the target.

L-3 Warrior Systems’ $65,000 Ground Panoramic Night Vision Goggle (GPNVG-18) is the king of these devices, even among modern NV/IR systems.

It stands out mostly because the GPNVG-18 unit has extra monocular lenses sticking out of both sides.

Although our operators may get odd looks when wearing them, the additional lenses provide a considerably broader field of view than is possible with traditional night vision goggles.

The GPNVG-18 is a night vision device that can be attached to a helmet. It has a wide horizontal field of view of 97 degrees, so it can be used to observe and/or identify targets in bad weather and is tough enough for ground applications.

A low-profile handheld night vision monocular can be created by detaching individual monoculars from the system and powering them with the power adapter provided in the package.

The two central intensifier tubes provide the usually overlapping, binocular-like image, which functions like standard night vision goggles.

From the edges of the central image, the two extra tubes on either side give slightly different views. It’s like looking through two sets of binoculars side by side, showing you a 97-degree field of vision that has never been seen before.

This means that the special forces can clear corners faster and more safely by just looking instead of turning their heads like an owls. Also, the extra tubes can be detached from the frame and used as separate monocles. A quartet of CR123A batteries can power the GPNVG-18 for up to 30 hours of continuous operation.


the successful raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011 was made possible by the use of cutting-edge night vision technology, specifically the Ground Panoramic Night Vision Goggle (GPNVG-18) utilized by Navy SEALs.

This device provided a decisive advantage by offering a wider field of view compared to traditional night vision goggles, allowing for faster and safer corner clearing during the operation.

Additionally, the detachable monoculars could function as handheld night vision devices, further enhancing the capabilities of the SEALs. The seamless integration of night vision and Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) technologies played a crucial role in the success of the mission, highlighting the importance of advanced equipment in modern warfare.