Thales Unveils New Generation of Optronic Devices

 In France, P5

With demand world­wide on the rise from armies for sen­sors that enhance sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness on the front line, Thales France has launched two new EO devices in its Sophie family.

The Nellie NVG (pic­tured above) and Optima camera/target loca­tor were unveiled in a 26 June webi­nar. Company offi­cials described these sys­tems as a new gen­er­a­tion of sen­sors with enhanced capa­bil­i­ties.

‘We put inside these prod­ucts the state-of-the-art tech­nolo­gies in order to allow the user to face the chal­lenges of the new oper­a­tional par­a­digm and high-inten­si­ty combat,’ explained Pascal Secretin, Thales’ prod­uct direc­tor for imagers and sen­sors.

Optima is an IR camera/target loca­tor designed for pla­toon lead­ers that can be oper­at­ed by day and at night. 

Thales prod­uct man­ag­er Pierre-Yves Guinet explained that this device was designed to ensure data pro­tec­tion, adding: ‘We are trying to pro­vide the best of the new tech­nol­o­gy to our sol­diers.’

Optima coor­di­nates photo and video shar­ing and pro­vides secure access that only allows use of the camera.

Authentication of shared data warns Optima users if an enemy attempts to manip­u­late data. In addi­tion, soft­ware on the device pro­vides integri­ty checks to pro­tect against cyber threats; Guinet claimed it is ‘impos­si­ble for a cyber­crim­i­nal to steal the infor­ma­tion stored in the camera’.

Optima pro­vides as stan­dard a direct view optics (DVO) chan­nel that aug­ments the abil­i­ty to detect and iden­ti­fy the enemy in day­light, as well as enhanc­ing the range of obser­va­tion of the camera.

‘Similar devices avail­able in the market only have a TV chan­nel, which the range of obser­va­tion is typ­i­cal­ly 2km. Besides the TV chan­nel, Optima also has the DVO, which the range is 7km,’ Guinet explained.

The deci­sion to add the DVO increased the over­all size of Optima. Even so, Secretin noted it weighs 2.5kg and remains lighter in weight than sim­i­lar devices avail­able in the market and pro­vides better images in day­light con­di­tions.

Uncooled tech­nol­o­gy in the device gen­er­ates ben­e­fits at long ranges com­pared with older cooled sys­tems, includ­ing reli­a­bil­i­ty, stealth and quick start.

‘It allows the faster access to its images and pro­duces no “noise”, which gives the uset two advan­tages: reac­tiv­i­ty and furtiv­i­ty,’ Guinet stressed.

Optima is designed to give the user a wider FOV (up to 22°) than pre­de­ces­sor devices (12° to 13°), which allows this target loca­tor detect­ing threats sooner.

Nellie is designed for use by ground forces and in land vehi­cles. It is an ultra-light­weight NVG that pro­vides greater sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness and higher res­o­lu­tion than legacy sys­tems, accord­ing to Thales. 

Secretin claimed that the ruggedised mechan­i­cal design does not sac­ri­fice sta­bil­i­ty and com­fort, as Nellie weighs 460g. The NVG func­tions while immersed in water and it can oper­ate in night mode with a lat­er­al flip-up.

He added that the new NVG also has a wider FOV (47°) than any other device on the market, giving ‘the widest pos­si­ble capa­bil­i­ties’ and increas­ing over­all sol­dier sit­u­a­tion­al aware­ness.

‘We have the best NVG exist­ing in the market at this moment,’ Secretin argued.

Rémi De Besombes, ser­vices mar­ket­ing man­ag­er at Thales, explained that both Optima and Nellie were devel­oped using cos­tumers feed­back.

‘They have been designed in order to reduce the sup­port cost, to improve the life­cy­cle of the equip­ment also to pre­serve its per­for­mance,’ he explained, adding that Thales is work­ing to reduce inter­ven­tion times for main­te­nance and repair of these devices.

Shephard Media source|articles

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