Competing with Uncooled
Simplifying the Small Arms Video Sight
A new program called FNIR is being started in Europe to develop a low-cost automotive night vision system based on fused images from an uncooled LWIR imager and a near-infrared (NIR) imager.
Research on Type II Superlattice (T2SL) FPAs is increasing rapidly as evidenced by the ten papers presented on these detectors at the April SPIE Infrared Technology & Applications Conference in Orlando. Currently, most of this work is aimed at improving performance in the LWIR, since good performance has already been demonstrated in the MWIR.
Type II Superlattice (T2SL) FPAs have made great progress over the last three years. Some are even heralding these detectors as the successor to mercury cadmium telluride.
The new enhanced version of the German future soldier system, IdZ-ES (Infanteristen der Zukunft) is increasing the number of infrared sights to be provided to soldiers. Earlier this year The German MoD’s BWB procurement agency awarded the prime contract for an enhanced version of IdZ to prime contractor Rheinmetall.
A proposed European Union regulation to enhance pedestrian safety may help to significantly expand the use of automotive infrared night vision systems. The proposed regulation will require a specific active safety system called Brake Assist on all new vehicles starting on July 1, 2008. In addition, new types of equipment, such as collision avoidance, will be recognized as alternatives to Brake Assist.
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.
Germany’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) is moving closer to procuring the Trigat LR (Long Range) anti-armor missiles for the country’s Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters. The MoD has already allocated 380 million euros for 600 Trigats.
AIM Infrarot-Module - working in conjunction with the Fraunhofer Institut, IAF, - has demonstrated a new level of performance for Type II Superlattice (T2SL) focal plane arrays operating in the mid-wave.
The German program for the Infantryman of the Future (IdZ - Infanteristen der Zukunft) is being upgraded with additional capabilities. Currently, the IdZ thermal weapon sight is based on an AIM HuntIR sight that makes use of a 384 x 288 MWIR mercury cadmium telluride FPA.
IRCAM GmbH, the new company founded in May 2005, by former managers of Thermosensorik GmbH has introduced a new dual-band QWIP camera. The GEMINIS 110k ML makes use of a dual-band 384 x 288 QWIP FPA made by AIM Infrarot-Module.