Overseas IR Detector Companies Expanding U.S. Operations
The UK’s Albion program for developing 3rd Gen FPAs has gone into Phase 2 with the award by the UK MOD of a £5.8 million (approximately $10.6 million) three-year contract to prime contractor Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems.
Thales UK has been awarded the contract for the UK’s Surveillance System and Range Finding (SSARF) requirement. The company won with the latest version of its Joint-Target Acquisition System (J-TAS), a bi-ocular handheld sight that combines daylight and thermal vision (640 x 480 VOx uncooled microbolometer from DRS) with an eye-safe laser range finder embedded military GPS and azimuth angular referencing.
The Alcatel-Thales III-V Lab. has developed 320 x 256 InGaAs FPAs with good performance.
Qioptiq is now in the process of shipping 450 VIPIR-2 thermal weapon sights to the Australian Army. The sights will be used in Australia’s future soldier system, called the LAND125 Soldier Enhancement Programme.
Kollsman is preparing to roll out its uncooled enhanced vision system for general aviation aircraft, GAViS™ (General Aviation Vision System).
Infrared sights for future soldier systems in several European countries are moving ahead rapidly after initially being delayed due to the lack of available uncooled focal plane arrays.
Thales is seeking to expand its presence in optronics in the U.S.
SELEX Sensors & Airborne Systems is moving ahead in the UK’s Albion program for the development of 3rd Gen FPAs based on mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) FPAs grown by MOVPE (Metal Organic Vapor Phase Epitaxy). After experimenting with both GaAs and GaAs:Si (GaAs on silicon) substrates, researchers have settled on the GaAs substrates because of the lower defect levels and the better stability of defect levels at storage temperatures to 100ºC.
Qioptiq is the new name for the former Thales High Tech Optics (HTO) business that was acquired by Candover Investments late last year. The new company has operations in the UK, US, Singapore, Germany and Hungary.
Thales has completed the sale of its High Technology Optics (HTO) units in the UK, Singapore, Germany and Hungary for 220 million euros (in cash) to Candover Investments.
The HTO units design and manufacture high precision optical modules and components mainly for military applications, but also for commercial uses.