The Harris Commitment to Continuous Improvement and Customer Responsiveness
The story of how Harris Corporation became the dominating manufacturer of aviation night vision goggles for pilots of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft began in October 1991. Harris, then ITT, attended a meeting at the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center in Tucson, Arizona. At this meeting, Harris recommended its AN/AVS-6 night vision goggles to the United States Air Force for its fixed-wing fleet. The Air Force rejected the AN/AVS-6 for two reasons: because it didn't fit onto the HGU-55/P helmet, and the bulky, rear-mounted battery pack made the goggle impractical for fighter pilots sitting in ejection seats.
Harris listened carefully and went back to the drawing board.
For more than a year, members of the marketing and engineering teams worked on improving the AN/AVS-6 goggle. The result: the Harris F4949 night vision goggles–a new name for the improved goggles. The F4949 would be mounted on the front of the HGU-55/P helmet and the battery pack would contain two miniature batteries, replacing the rear-mounted pack.
Six months later, Harris received its first order for F4949s from the U.S. Air National Guard for its ongoing effort to intercept drug-running aircraft.
Over the next three years, Harris delivered more than 2,500 F4949s to the U.S. Air Force. And in February 1996, the U.S. Air Force and Navy added the requirements for night vision goggles to the Army's multi-year procurement program known as Omnibus IV.
Today, Harris has received substantial orders for the F4949 series from more than 30 different nations. Harris offers 40 different configurations of the F4949 to accommodate different helmets, aircraft lighting and image tube performance.
The development history of the F4949 vision goggle fully exemplifies Harris’ dedication to its customers and innovation.