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24 Sep 02. Thales Optics, based in St Asaph North Wales, has been awarded a contract by the UK MOD/QinetiQ to develop an ultra-small, ultra-lightweight weapon aiming and surveillance thermal imager. TIDI (Thermal Imager Dismounted Infantry) is intended to be used by future UK infantry troops for observation and weapon aiming, providing soldiers with enhanced target detection and the capability to engage targets obscured by camouflage, fog, smoke, or other battlefield obscurants. The contract was won against international competition and delivery of the first TIDI demonstration units will take place before the end of year 2004.

Thales will develop the TIDI thermal imager to weigh half that of current standard thermal weapon sights, whilst offering the performance essential to dismounted soldiers operating in today’s diverse operational theatres. Thales Optics will be utilising the skills, expertise and technologies employed within Thales’ world-wide commercial and defence organisations along with partner companies.

Rob Thompson, managing director Thales Optics, said: “This success both confirms our position as the leading developer of infantry weapons sights and the company’s unique status as a global supplier to military and civil markets. Thales Optics’ St Asaph site is a centre-of-excellence for design and manufacture of infantry night vision equipment, with this contract now demonstrating a successful collaboration between UK MOD/QinetiQ and industry in this strategically important business area.”

Thales Optics is a member of the Thales High Tech Optics (HTO) group which is an international network of companies committed to the design, delivery and state-of-the-art ‘solutions and products’. HTO is globally recognised as a leading provider of innovative solutions to the world’s high performance optics and electro optics markets for both defence and commercial sectors. The group consists of thirteen companies, which operate in eight different countries.

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