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Old 20-04-2016, 08:20   #1
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US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

If you have a problem that results in you floating around in a life raft some dark night and a Coast Guard SAR Chopper flies right over you but keeps on going, you can thank the Food and Drug Administration, if you survive. For more see "Red Tape Keeps Coast Guard Night Vision Equipment idle". Your Government at work....

If you are in the USA, please contact your Congressmen/Senators about this latest "brilliance" on the part of the Administration.
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Old 20-04-2016, 09:16   #2
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

your police can patrol in military grade APC but your CG can't use military grade NV equipment? what has this world come to.
did they at least throw out the old equipment that they were allowed to use, when they installed the new system?
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Old 20-04-2016, 09:24   #3
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

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Originally Posted by Simonsays View Post
your police can patrol in military grade APC but your CG can't use military grade NV equipment? what has this world come to.
Ain't liberalism grand! I would add lots more but am afraid it would get deleted for being too "political." Oh well. I guess holding onto flares may not be such a bad idea for that exact situation. They sure as hell should see one of those shot infront of their bird at night.
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Old 20-04-2016, 10:02   #4
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

Whoever wrote that article was an idiot it sounds like
I'd be willing to bet Lunch that what they aren't allowed to use is the Laser targeting system, which along with giving exact range, also will give exact location due to the aircraft knowing where it is, now has the exact range and heading to target, so target location is now known.
If that is what it is, I'm glad, cause they aren't eye safe, and it's not visible light either, so you wouldn't know you were being lased. Your sitting there at night with your pupils wide open being Lased? No thank you.

It's not new either, when we went to Bosnia in 96 I think, I asked at a briefing if we were allowed to use the laser to determine location of bad guys, later on we were told the Laser was to be classified as a Weapon, so we could use it only if we were going to shoot. I think that was a good call.

I don't know how much damage it would do to your eyes, I image auto tracked a Buzzard or two in Texas and Lased them for a long time, either a Buzzard can fly IFR, or the Laser didn't damage their eyes.
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Old 20-04-2016, 10:33   #5
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

a64pilot,

I think you're right. Folks get all excited over bad info.

Several years ago the Coast Guard head of Search and Rescue -- himself a pilot -- spoke to our yacht club. He emphasized the fact that at night Coast Guard SAR pilots use excellent night vision equipment. He said that if you held a lit match, literally, in your liferaft they'd see it and easily find you.

Guess you don't need bright flares. Just a flashlight or small strobe or...almost anything.

Would appreciate confirmation of this from currently active USCG SAR pilots.

Bill
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Old 20-04-2016, 11:02   #6
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Whoever wrote that article was an idiot it sounds like
I'd be willing to bet Lunch that what they aren't allowed to use is the Laser targeting system, which along with giving exact range, also will give exact location due to the aircraft knowing where it is, now has the exact range and heading to target, so target location is now known.
If that is what it is, I'm glad, cause they aren't eye safe, and it's not visible light either, so you wouldn't know you were being lased. Your sitting there at night with your pupils wide open being Lased? No thank you.

It's not new either, when we went to Bosnia in 96 I think, I asked at a briefing if we were allowed to use the laser to determine location of bad guys, later on we were told the Laser was to be classified as a Weapon, so we could use it only if we were going to shoot. I think that was a good call.

I don't know how much damage it would do to your eyes, I image auto tracked a Buzzard or two in Texas and Lased them for a long time, either a Buzzard can fly IFR, or the Laser didn't damage their eyes.
Ah... A discussion with a neighbor who is a CG Pilot out of St. Pete confirms that the night vision gear cannot be used. It is housed in the same ball turret as the PEQ-15 laser targeting and illumination system and so, by FDA decree, must remain disabled and sealed/locked (you know how sneaky the Crew Chiefs can be, eh?). Moreover, let's give the Coasties a little credit. Is it really likely they'd be using a laser targeting system on a SAR operation? Really? Using it on drugies, on the other hand, would be fine in my book and yet far less devastating than the 20mm or even only 7.62mm likely to follow a resistant perpetrator with an AK-47 and attitude. And for what its worth, a laser targeting beam certainly didn't seem to have any injurious or even deterrent effect on bad guys during my deployment, until a Paveway showed up of course...
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Old 20-04-2016, 11:21   #7
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

For the most part there are two different night vision systems.
Light intensification, which is just that ,and is what is usually known as Goggles, worn individually, no magnification. I flew ANVIS 6's, I'm sure there are much better now.
It's red light that they are hugely sensitive to, to the naked eye a dim red light is much brighter than even say a CREE flashlight, Goggles are so sensitive to red light that a normal intensity red light flashlight will shut down a pair of goggles, so if you want to be seen, have a red light, it is WAY more visible than a white light.

Then there is FLIR of course that looks at heat, Apache is still I believe the only aircraft that use FLIR for flight, everybody else wears goggles.

It sounds like the CG has a turret similar maybe to the Apaches TADS or Target Acquisition System, that has target tracking, magnification up to 126 power, gyro stabilized etc. and have been told to not use the Laser that is used as a rangefinder and for target designation for Hellfire missiles etc.
The standard Neodymium Laser used for rangfinding and target designation is not an eye safe Laser.
I'm guessing, but that article did refer a few times to Laser though
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Old 20-04-2016, 11:31   #8
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

I am not USCG, nor do I know the full context of this storey, but I used to wear night vision goggles for my employment, often times for many hours at time and they made me feel terrible after more than half an hour or so of use.

Nautious, headache, strained eyes. I hate night vision goggles.

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Old 20-04-2016, 12:04   #9
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

Sounds like you had them out of focus, if focused to infinity, it helps a lot.
Way back in the day goggles had a seal around them, you could not look under or around them, so we originally focused one on the instrument panel and the other to infinity, then I had what you described, that sucked, blind in one eye and can't see out of the other
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Old 20-04-2016, 12:27   #10
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

" Although the technology is used by other Pentagon branches of the Armed Forces, the Coast Guard falls under Department of Homeland Security, and its use of the equipment is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration."


All part and parcel of the perennial confusion about whether the USCG is a military force. They are not. They are an administrative agency, and only if a state of war is formally declared by Congress, and the USCG is transferred to military status, does that change.


And that's not always a bad thing, it is part of the reason why USCG operations were legal in the aftermath of Katrina, while the Posse Commitatus Act (now changed) prevented deployment of *military* forces.


Of course if Congress would just give the USCG a decent SAR budget and stop screwing around with the roar on drugs....these things might not be issues.
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Old 20-04-2016, 12:44   #11
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

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" while the Posse Commitatus Act (now changed) prevented deployment of *military* forces.
I had to look it up, it has changed. I didn't know that, and don't like it. But Coast Guard has I believe always been exempt as has the Navy.
Intent I believe was to disallow Federal troops to be used against US Citizens.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act
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Old 20-04-2016, 13:10   #12
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

The article referred to the HITRON Station in Jax. That is an interdiction unit:

USCG HITRON Jacksonville

The equipment use would be in Laws Enforcement/Interdiction.

MArc.
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Old 20-04-2016, 13:48   #13
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

a64-
There was a typical legal argument (strict construction versus intent) that the USN was always exempt since it was not mentioned in the PCA. However, as the USN did not exist at the time that law was written, and that law was written to cover all the military forces that DID exist at that time, the point can be made that it does, would, and should extend to cover any "military" force that was invented at a later date.
You know, if Jefferson and Madison had ever imagined that men could fly around the world and drop megaton bombs...well, Jules Verne wouldn't have been news either, would he?
Modifying the PCA by quietly slipping in a reference to a CFR section in the omnibus spending bill's appendixes (apendii?) was a great way to avoid a slugfest on Capitol Hill.
But getting back to sailing...I can't help think the USCG isn't terribly happy about their "Mikey will eat anything!" role in things. Might as well ask them to conduct the census and sweep the streets in their spare time. (sigh) It must be a terribly frustrating job.
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Old 20-04-2016, 18:15   #14
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

Not that my opinion means anything, but the whole Homeland security thing has me confused.

A lot of complete nonsense came from that time, all little airports got big fences and automatic gates put on them, I mean it takes miles of fence to fence in an airport, and why? Was someone stealing the little airplanes, and if they were what would a fence do?
Local police forces got Military hardware like Humvees and Lord only knows what else, and why?

Has the TSA ever caught anyone, ever


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Old 20-04-2016, 19:15   #15
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Re: US Coast Guard Night Vision Disabled by FDA

"Make Donald Drumpf again"

One can pickup a good IR night vision sight pretty cheap these days.
Been thinking of mounting one looking forward up my mast for night runs.

Positive the interdict fellows have this up and running-certainly DEA does.


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