FLIR AND SOFRADIR TO COLLABORATE ON NEW DUAL-BAND CAMERA
By Julian Nettlefold
FLIR Systems Inc., the global leader in thermal imaging, infrared (IR) cameras and night vision systems and Sofradir, a leader in advanced IR detectors for military, aerospace and commercial applications, announced on the first day of AUSA that FLIR Systems will be collaborating with Sofradir on state-of-the-art, third-generation dual-band detectors and camera cores to create thermal cameras with enhanced capabilities for military and commercial applications.
Sofradir brings its industry-leading detector technology and mass production capacities, while FLIR will design cameras and insert them into both US and international developed systems.
“FLIR Systems and Sofradir share a common goal to supply the global sensor market with leading-edge technology,” said Bill Sundermeier, president, FLIR Systems Government Systems division. “This relationship reinforces the confidence that our customers have in our increased technological capabilities.”
“We are pleased to be working side-by-side with FLIR, whose reputation for product quality is recognized worldwide,” said Philippe Bensussan, Chairman and CEO of Sofradir. “Together we’ll be offering the best dual-band product on the market.”
This collaboration comes at a point when dual-band detectors are just beginning to become available after a long period of materials development in several countries. The applications include not only military and security imaging systems, but also thermographic and scientific cameras. This is because they provide the possibility of precise non-contact temperature measurement with automatic compensation for unknown material emissivity.”
Sofradir’s IR detectors are integrated into thousands of military-grade systems deployed to detect, observe, and identify objects at great distances, day and night, through fog, smoke and dust. Sofradir has introduced numerous “firsts” to the IR camera and optronics systems sector, and several of its IR detectors have set new industry standards in performance. Those qualities will be captured in the new dual-band IR detector.
The dual-band thermal camera will operate in the midwave and longwave bandwidths, allowing users to switch spectral bands depending on the particular object to be identified or surveyed. The longwave bandwidth can optimize detection at cooler temperatures, and be beneficial on a battlefield, in the presence of dust, smoke or fog. The midwave bandwidth will enhance performance in high temperature and high humidity. The cameras will also provide for efficient image fusion between the two bands, as the images will be naturally registered.
The Editor asked Bill Sundermeier if he could give a breakdown of the split between Airborne and Land systems sales. He said that the current split was 60:40 in favour of airborne. FLIR was ramping up sales of DVE’s to overseas customers in Scandanavia. He said that the Sofradir relationship would bring new gimble technology to the alliance. Because of high sales to commercial customers such as BMW, FLIR has a considerable costs advantage for its DVE products and thus FLIR is currently working on developing better range, performance and stabalization systems to enhance its current range.
FLIR was also supplying Focus, a new pan and tilt mast-based product, developed under a UOR for Afghanistan. FLIR is also developing a new family of Talon laser designators.
In other news FLIR has a contract for 400 Talon systems from Sikorsky for its Blackhawk MEDEVAC helicopter which will be delivered in second quarter 2010. For the RAID and BETSS IDIQ Programs, FLIR is under contract to deliver 700 Cerberus cameras. The MTBF was excellent giving 7000 hours against an industry standard of 1000 and 20000 for the central electronics core.
Commenting on U.S. exports he said that there were ITAR challenges with some customers purging U.S. equipment in favour of other suppliers