Qioptiq – FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS
By Julian Nettlefold
It seems like another age when I was employed by what was then Pilkington PE to handle the Public Relations for their St Asaph site and the Barr & Stroud Glasgow naval periscope site. Part of my remit included rebranding the Company and merging the two units to form Pilkington Optronics in 1988. The hardest part was to insist that the Glasgow operation stopped answering the telephone, “Hello, Barr & Stroud.” It took a few years for old habits to die! My time with Pilikington’s ended in 1991 after three happy years where we established the Company in the forefront of military optronics.
In 1991 a 50% JV was formed with what was then Thomson-CSF, leading to a full takeover in 2000. In 2005 Candover acquired what was then called Thales HTO Group and the Company was rebranded as Qioptiq. The Qioptiq Group now consists of twelve manufacturing operations in seven different countries.
The company employs some 2,400 employees and achieved a sales revenue of US$400 million in 2008.
Qioptiq specialises in developing and producing complex optical modules and components for applications including aerospace, defence and night-vision operations. Its technologically advanced product range includes optical modules for cockpit head-up displays, infrared optical modules and night-vision equipment. Qioptiq is internationally recognised as “A one stop shop for optical solutions”. With an enviable reputation and comprehensive operating facilities in seven countries, Qioptiq is well placed to deliver when it comes to the design, development, manufacture and support of STA equipment.
Qioptiq has over 40 years experience in the electro-optics industry employing many world experts. Those involved with night vision equipment have a primary focus on the design, development and support of un-cooled thermal imaging and image intensified equipment for the Dismounted Close Combat (DCC) domain, and have developed a strong pedigree in the design, development and support of weapon and surveillance sights. This extensive experience has lead to our position as a key equipment provider to Military and other Government forces in over 50 countries.
Current sales of Image Intensified based weapon and surveillance sights total 60,000 units and sales of Uncooled Thermal Imaging based sights are increasing with firm orders expected to take this to 12,000+ over the next few years.
Qioptiq have supplied 20,000 Image Intensified and 4,000 Thermal Weaponsights to UK MoD including the S-Vipir2+ Thermal Sniper Sight attachment for deployment on the Accuracy International .338 AW Sniper Rifle. This combination has greatly increased the 24 hour capability of UK Sniper teams on current combat operations. Many other NATO forces have taken advantage of the proven capability of Qioptiq products and are benefitting from the low power and high reliability that Qioptiq products provide and infantry environments demand, as such, Qioptiq land based sighting systems have seen extensive use on current operations in the most demanding of environments and can truly be called “combat proven” equipment.
Qioptiq are also currently positioned as the Thermal Weaponsight provider on a number of high profile Soldier Modernisation programmes including the Sniper Thermal Imaging Capability (STIC) Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) programme and a significant contract by the THALES Prime Contract Management Office (PCMO) to supply equipment in support of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) programme in the UK and the LAND 125 Phase 2B program in Australia to name a few. These are contracts won against intense competition such as that from US based TWS providers.
Sniper Thermal Imaging Capability (STIC)
Qioptiq’s SVIPIR2+ Thermal Sniper Sight is adapted from the VIPIR2+ long-range thermal weapon sight already in service with UK MoD on a number of platforms. Modified sp